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Bank on it

Explaining sick leave conversion

You can use sick leave to boost your “annuity,” which refers to the monthly payments that USPS retirees receive.

You hear a lot about Postal Service employees who have banked years’ worth of sick leave during the course of their careers.

What does that actually mean — and how could saving sick leave benefit you?

Here are some things to keep in mind:

• Conserving leave can help you when you’re sick. By saving and accumulating your leave, you’ll know it’s there for you when you really need it.

• Saved sick leave can also benefit you at the end of your career. You can use your sick leave to boost your “annuity,” which refers to the monthly payments that retirees receive that are, in part, based on their years of service.

Sick leave counts toward your years of service, but it doesn’t count toward meeting eligibility for retirement.

For example, if you are 60 years old with 20 years of service and have one year of sick leave, your annuity would be calculated as 21 years of service. However, if you are 60 years old with 19 years of service, even if you have one year of sick leave, it doesn’t mean you are eligible for retirement.

• You can save as much sick leave as you wish. There’s no limit to the amount of sick leave that can be added to the earned service of an eligible employee.

However, only years and full months of service are used in the annuity computation, with the remaining days dropped.

• More information is available. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management computation table under the Federal Employees Retirement System is available on LiteBlue. Postal Service employees who are within five years of optional retirement can request their annuity estimates on LiteBlue.

The Leave LiteBlue site has additional information on sick leave. If you have questions, email the Health and Benefits team.

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