FERS Sick Leave Reimbursement Moves Forward In Congress

Employees covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) would receive credit for unused sick leave towards their retirement annuities under a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last night. Added as a provision of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, HR 1108, the bill would treat unused sick leave similarly to that of employees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).

Introduced by Rep. James Moran, D-VA, long a champion of retirement fairness for FERS employees, the bill would provide credit towards retirement annuities for 75% of sick leave for those retiring within the first three years of enactment, and full credit for those retiring after three years. “Our current use-it-or-lose-it sick leave system for FERS employees hurts productivity and increases training costs,” said Moran. As passed last night, the bill is more generous than Moran’s previous proposal, HR 5573, which would have paid FERS employees a lump-sum upon retirement for unused sick leave up to $10,000.

The bill, which faces a veto-threat from President Bush, was passed by a veto-proof margin of 326-102 (find out how your Member of Congress voted here). It now heads to the Senate, where a spokeswoman for Sen. Edward Kennedy said “We’re hopeful it’ll move in the fall,” after Congress returns from its August recess. However, the current Senate bill does not contain the FERS sick leave provision, and the ultimate fate of the provision may be decided in a House-Senate conference committee if the Senate is able to pass its version of the bill.  

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