Sick leave


Q. I had a retirement date of Jan. 3, 2014, but have developed some health problems and may need to go out earlier or use my 17 weeks of sick leave, which would take me to the same date. Would it behoove me to use up the sick leave or go out two to three months earlier with the sick leave in tact? I will have 35 years, eight months and 13 days if I go out on Jan. 3, 2014.

A. Just because you have accumulated 17 weeks of sick leave doesn’t mean that you are free to take it. You would have to provide medical proof of the need to do that. Assuming that you met the medical necessity test, you would remain on the payroll earning your regular salary while your sick leave balance diminished. Nevertheless, you’d be earning additional annual and sick leave along the way and increasing your total service time. If you leave earlier than you originally planned, you’d earn less salary, but your unused sick would be used to increase your annuity.


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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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