Sick leave vs. LWOP for unexpected surgery


Q. I am a federal civilian worker with a recent injury outside of the workplace. I do not have sufficient sick leave to cover my upcoming surgery and convalescence. I have annual leave but would prefer not to completely deplete my leave . Am I required to use all of my leave, or can I take some leave without pay? If I do not have enough paid leave to cover the time, am I a risk for dismissal from my post?

A. Discuss the matter with your supervisor and your personnel office. You may be eligible for advanced sick leave, the leave transfer program or the emergency leave transfer program. While you aren’t required to use your annual leave when your sick leave runs out, it is up to your agency to decide if you can be placed in leave without pay.


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

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