How Does My Sick Leave Benefit Me as I Prepare to Retire?
Accrued Sick Leave Credit is defined in each System. Sick Leave is included with Membership Service Credit, Prior Service Credit, and Portability Service Credit as part of the total of “Creditable Service” in the Employees’ and Uniformed Systems. Sick Leave is also recognized as service credit in the Police Officers Retirement System.
Both the Employees’ and Uniformed Systems require the member to have a minimum of five (5) years of service in determining eligibility for retirement.
A member in the Employees’ system (ERS) is eligible for Normal Service Retirement at age 65 with 5 years of service. Also, members of Plans A & B are eligible for normal retirement benefits if the member is at least age 50, and their age plus years of service equal 80 (the “Rule of 80”). ERS members of Plans C & D are eligible for normal retirement benefits if the member is at least age 55, and their age plus years of service equal 85 (the “Rule of 85”). A Uniformed Retirement System Member is eligible at age 55 with at least 6 years of Creditable Service or after 25 years of Creditable Service.
Accrued Sick Leave Credit means credit allowed a member at the rate of one (1) month for each one hundred seventy-two (172) hours of accrued unused sick leave, and pro rata credit for each fraction thereof. *Note: For those hired on or after January 1, 2013, the maximum number of hours that count towards benefit service credit are 2,080.
For members eligible to use their Accrued Sick Leave Credit, the eligibility date for Normal Service Retirement in Police and Uniformed is closer by the amount of accrued unused sick leave they have.
For members of the Employees’ Retirement System, Accrued Sick Leave Credit is an additional amount of Creditable Service, but does not change the age calculation.
Using the “Rules of 80 & 85” a member’s sick leave hours at retirement can and will add hours to the member’s retirement service credit. Sick leave cannot help the person reach age 50 or age 55 – they must attain the age requirement first, and sick leave credit will be applied to the “Rule of 80 or 85” totals for eligibility and benefit calculation.
A common question-- "Do I only get half the credit for sick leave hours?”
Actually the entire sick leave balance is counted as service credit*. Because age and service credit make up the formula for the “Rules of 80 & 85”, sick leave added to service credit allows a member to retire earlier. But remember, by retiring earlier, the member is both younger and has less service credit. Two parts sick leave make up for one part each of age and service for the calculation of the “Rule of 80 & 85”.
For benefit service totals, having sick leave and retiring earlier because of the sick leave still results in more total service credit than not having any sick leave. The benefit for an individual will be greater if they have sick leave than if they do not have sick leave.
A045_September 14, 2017