“I just had one of these so-called Federal Retirement “experts” tell me that my accumulated sick leave in excess of 2,000 hours is of no benefit to me at retirement time, since I can only cap out at 80% of my annuity, which I have. Is this individual correct? Am I to go around the rest of my life cursing myself out for having accumulated all this sick leave for naught?”

Reg’s Response

What you were told was wrong. Unused sick leave - regardless of the amount - will be added to you actual service and used in the computation of your annuity. When you retire, all your years and full months of service will be calculated. Then your unused hours of sick leave will be added to any leftover days and hours of service and used to compute your actual annuity. To do that, unused sick leave is converted into months of service, where 174 hours equals one month, 248 hours equals two months, etc. Once you reach 2,087 hours, you have a full year. At that point the computation keeps going until all your months of unused hours of sick leave have been used up. At the end, any left over hours are discarded.

Got a question for the Federal Times expert? Send inquiries to: fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.

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