NTEU Applauds House Passage of Provision to Apply FERS Unused Sick Leave to Pension Calculation


7/30/08: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley today offered her strong support for a legislative proposal which would be a major step forward in fairness for a substantial number of federal workers over the manner in which unused sick leave is treated for pension purposes.

President Kelley said the provision in H.R. 1108 would permit employees covered under the newer Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) to count accrued but unused sick leave toward their pensions.

“This is a very welcome and important step toward correcting some of the disparity in treatment of employees who often work side-by-side,” said President Kelley. She applauded the work on the provision of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.); Rep. James Moran (D-Va.), author of similar legislation; and Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). The language is contained in a broader legislative proposal called “The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.”

At present, FERS-covered employees earn no credit toward retirement for unused sick leave. This is unlike their counterparts covered under the older Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), who do receive such credit. FERS employees mostly began working for the government in 1984 or later.

The Waxman-introduced proposal would provide for the application to pension calculations of 75 percent of such accrued and unused leave over the next three years for FERS employees; after that, 100 percent of the leave would be applied for pension purposes.

President Kelley noted that the measure would benefit not only FERS-covered employees, but their agencies as well. It would provide a strong incentive for FERS employees to retain their sick leave rather than lose any benefit from it when they retire, as is now the case.