Unused sick leave


Q. I will have 20 years of service on Oct. 26. I have more than 1,300 hours of sick leave saved up. We were told that I could use half of my sick leave and retire early with 20 years of computed service. Now that I am in that window, I am told that I cannot retire with 20 years of service until Oct. 26 to receive the 20-year mark. What happens to the sick leave? Do I lose it, or do they use it to add to my retirement income?

A. Unused sick leave can’t be used to meet the age and service requirements to retire. Instead, once you meet the age and service requirements, unused sick leave will be added to your actual service and used in the computation of your annuity. Because you are a FERS employee, if you retire before Jan. 1, 2014, you’ll only be given credit for half of your sick leave.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. Paul Morris on

    I am 75 and have almost 20 years of service (shy less than 2 months). As a FERS employee, I am eligible to retire. My question concerns whether I would qualify for the 1.1% annuity multiplier based on 20 years of service plus my 600 hours of unused sick leave if included.

    I know that unused sick leave cannot be used in determining eligibility to retire, but can it be used to qualify for the 1.1 percent? I cannot find the answer anywhere. It is said to be usable for the annuity calculation purposes so the rule seems to be unclear.

    • No, it cannot be used to reach the 20 years of actual service needed to qualify you for the enhanced retirement benefit.

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