Section 41(j) of the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL) provides an optional sick leave benefit. If your employer has chosen to offer this benefit, you may receive service credit for your unused, unpaid sick leave days at retirement. To be eligible for this benefit, you must retire directly from public employment or within a year after separating from service.
The additional credit is determined by dividing the total unused, unpaid sick leave days by 260. The maximum number of creditable sick leave days is generally 100. However, the maximum can be 165 in certain cases, or 200 for some members employed by New York State. Contact your employer to determine if your employer has adopted this benefit.
For example, if you retire with 500 hours of unused, unpaid sick leave, and your day is 7.5 hours long:
500 days ÷ 7.5 hours = 66.67 days
66.67 ÷ 260 = 0.256, or roughly one quarter of a year of service.
Credit for your unused sick leave at retirement cannot be used to:
- Qualify for vesting. For example, if you have nine years and ten months of service credit and you need ten years to be vested, your sick leave credit cannot be used to reach the ten years.
- Qualify for a better retirement benefit calculation. For example, if you have 19 ½ years of service credit but your pension calculation will improve substantially if you have 20 years, your sick leave credit cannot be used to reach the 20-year calculation.