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. For members in Tiers 3, 4 and 5, the maximum number of creditable sick leave days is 165. For members in Tier 6, the maximum number is generally 100, but can be 165 in certain cases. 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 hours ÷ 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.
- Increase your pension beyond the maximum amount payable under your retirement plan.
- Meet the service credit requirement to retire under a special 20- or 25-year plan.