Annuities and sick leave


Q. I plan to retire on Dec. 31. I have 2,396 hours of sick leave and understand that any unused hours leave will be used to increase my annuity. I want to find out how many hours I can use before the end of the year without affecting the maximum number of hours that will be used to increase my annuity.

A. I can’t tell you how many hours you can use. What I can tell you is that annuities are based on all years and full months of service. Any days that exceed a full month will be added to your unused hours of sick leave and create additional months that will be used to increase your annuity. This is done by dividing the number of hours in a work year — 2,087 — by 360, which, to equalize monthly payments, is based on 12 30-day months. Therefore, for retirement purposes, a day equals 5.797+hours and a month is roughly 174 hours long.


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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


  1. Your sick leave amounts to 13 months with 134 hours left over that will not count towards anything. Divide by 8 and that gives you 16.75 working days of SL. Although you “are not allowed” to use up your sick leave without being sick, you can schedule doctors/dentists etc appointments for some of those days. Also leave a cushion of about 3 days in case, so if you “get the flu” you won’t lose a whole month if the calculations are off. I retired in June and was calculating to get enough time to finish out a month so I would have 22 years.

      • FERS employees who retire when they are at least 62 years old and have at lest 20 years of service will have their annuity computed using the enhanced 1.1 percent formula that includes both their actual service and any unused sick leave

  2. There is a CSRS/FERS Sick Leave Conversion Chart you can use that will easily tell you the number of years/months/days your sick leave equates too. Remember that you only earn sick and annual leave in a pay period you work your full 80 hours. Since December 31, 2019 is on a Tuesday, it is likely that most will not earn leave for that pay period. You also need to know the amount of time you have worked as a civilian with the Federal Government (information not provided), also if you have any Military Service Time (information not provided), as they all get added together to determine your annuity. You will need to break each one out into Years, Months, Days and add them together. One month equals 30 days. Any days left over do not count towards your annuity.

  3. But you also need to determine if you have a partial month that you have worked as such is included in your total creditable time of service. In other words, if you have worked 80 hours of the final month in which you retire, then that gets added to the partial (less than 174 hours) sick leave hours to determine if the sum of the two equate to a full month.

  4. I plan to retire this year when I hit 70 years old. At that time I will have 19 years 9 months and 2 days of service… and 5 months of sick leave on the books. Will I receive a 1% retirement or 1.1% retirement factor?
    Thank you

    • Your annuity will be computed using the 1% multiplier. You’d have to have 20 years of actual service for the 1.1 multiplier to be used. Unused sick leave can’t be added to your actual service to meet that requirement.

      • Thank you.
        I had thought since I already qualified for a retirement (age 62 / over 5 year service) that the basic requirement had been met. …And that the unused sick time would be used in the annuity calculation.

        • While unused sick leave won’t be used in determining your years and full months of service, once you have enough actual service to qualify for an immediate annuity they will be included when determining the amount of your annuity.

          • I suggest that you read the last section of this article which starts with “The Multiplier Effect” which covers this question specifically. The URL is:

            Also use your retirement estimator on the GRB Platform to estimate your retirement using the less than 20 years of federal service and then making up the difference with unused sick leave. According to the article, and also using the FERS Retirement Estimate Report, it appears you can get the 1.1 percent factor because you already met the eligibility retirement by being 60 years old and having 5 years of service. I am running this up through my HR people now for verification. Please read the article.

          • The 1.1 percent multiplier is only used when a FERS employee retires at age 62 or later and has at least 20 years of service.

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