FERS Sick Leave Credit Passes House-Senate Conference Committee (No More FERS Flu)

NARFE, October 7, 2009

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) President Margaret L. Baptiste today praised Senators Carl Levin, D-MI, and John McCain, R-AZ, and Reps. Ike Skelton, D-MO, and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-CA, (the chairs and ranking members of their respective chambers’ Armed Services Committees) and other members of the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Authorization conference committee for including several civil service improvements in the final legislation.

The final agreement would allow federal agencies to re-employ federal retirees on a limited, part-time basis without offset of annuity; permit Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) workers to initially credit half, and later all, of their unused sick leave toward retirement; and provide for retirement equity for Federal employees in Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Territories.  The Conference Agreement is expected to pass the House and Senate.

“During the past several years, NARFE has played a leading role, along with other federal and postal employee organizations, in overcoming several obstacles to pass these needed civil service improvements,” President Baptiste said.   “For example, absent NARFE’s persistence, legislation (S. 629) sponsored by Senators  Susan Collins, R-ME, Herb Kohl, D-WI, and George Voinovich, R-OH, to allow federal retirees to be re-employed by the government would not have been included in the final Defense bill.  Many Federal retirees continue to make critical contributions to our safety and well-being during this time of national need and when workforce shortages have deprived some agencies of employees with critical and specialized skills,” Baptiste said.  “This is a victory for active and retired federal employees.”

Baptiste was particularly pleased that a compromise was reached on the FERS sick leave legislation by phasing in the allowance. When Congress created FERS in 1986, the benefit of allowing workers to apply their unused sick leave toward retirement was traded off for other FERS benefits not available under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).  “However, with the benefit of 23 years of hindsight, we recognize that the inequity in the treatment of accrued sick leave between FERS and CSRS has hurt productivity and increased agency costs.  For that reason, we have strongly supported the concept that all federal civilian retirement programs credit unused sick leave toward retirement,” Baptiste said.

                    The NARFE president specifically lauded Rep. James Moran, D-VA, for introducing his own FERS sick leave equity bill (H.R. 958) and for being a long-time champion of the issue. Baptiste also commended Reps. Edolphus Towns, D-NY, Stephen Lynch, D-MA, and Senators Joseph Lieberman, I-CT, Susan Collins, R-ME, Daniel Akaka, D-HI and James Webb, D-VA, who served as the Defense bill conferees, for helping to persuade their colleagues to include the civil service provisions.  In addition, she thanked Reps. Steny Hoyer, D-MD, Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, Frank Wolf, R-VA, Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC, Gerry E. Connolly, D-VA, Paul Sarbanes, D-MD, Donna Edwards, D-MD, Elijah Cummings, D-MD, and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-MD, for the significant role they played in this victory on behalf of NARFE and the federal/postal community.

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NARFE, one of America’s oldest and largest associations, was founded in 1921 with the mission of protecting the earned rights and benefits of America’s active and retired federal workers. The largest federal employee/ retiree organization, NARFE represents the retirement interests of nearly 5 million current and future federal annuitants, spouses, and survivors.

8 thoughts on “FERS Sick Leave Credit Passes House-Senate Conference Committee (No More FERS Flu)

  1. With social security full retirement age at 65 – 67 there will many days when us older letter carriers will feel the need to give our beat-up bodies a couple days from time to time, to recuperate the daily pounding. The 20 bucks per month I might get for carrying my sick-leave out the door when I retire is hardly worth the current dollar value. The value of being able to work longer by using sick-leave when necessary to recover from the legitimate medical needs crated by the job way outways the unimpressive offer that is creeping its way through Congress. Using the sick-leave could extend your ability to work substantially. An extra year of Social Securiy credits could be worth over $125 per month per year and the extra year of FERS retirement would be worth another $50 per month. Do the math.

  2. I know better than nothing. I am at the top scale. I have 2000 hours of sick leave or about $148,000 worth of sick leave (short 2080 by 80). If I cash it in for retirement I get about an extra 1% per year. It makes about a $2165 per year difference if I were to retire now. Hmmmmm 68 years to recoup the generous offer. I’d prefer the cash out like annual leave. I know I’m dreaming. I feel a year’s sick headache coming on.

  3. Big Deal, credit of pennies on the dollar towards your retirement for unused sick leave under FERS. Only a damn idiot will take 6 months or a year of sick leave worth between 25k and 50 k and be happy with their extra 30 to 50 dollars a month. Gonna live to be 125 to break even? FMLA and burn your sick leave up your last few years and cash out. Its a no brainer! You can`t legislate common sense!

  4. You can have matching funds when you contribute to Social Security. A benefit some FERS employees can’t touch until age 65.Willing to trade ?

  5. if fers employees get credit for unused sick leave,csrs employees should get matching funds on tsp!

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