If you’ve accumulated unused, unpaid sick leave, you may be able to use it toward your NYSLRS pension benefit.
New York State employees are eligible for this benefit. You also may be eligible if your employer has adopted Section 41(j) for the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS), or 341(j) for the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS), of Retirement and Social Security Law. Not sure? Ask your employer or check your Member Annual Statement.
Here’s How It Works
Your additional service credit is determined by dividing your unused sick leave days by the number of work days in a year, which is 260 for most members. Most ERS members can get credit for up to 165 days (7½ months) of unused sick leave. The benefit is capped at 100 days (4½ months) for most Tier 6 members. State employees in certain negotiating units may be able to use 200 days (about nine months). Those extra “months” would be used in calculating your retirement benefit.
Also, depending on your employer, your unused sick leave may be used to cover some health insurance costs during your retirement. Please check with your employer for information about health insurance.
Unused sick leave cannot be used to reach NYSLRS retirement milestones. Let’s say you have 19½ years of service credit. At 20 years, your pension calculation would improve substantially. You also have 130 days of unused sick leave. Can you add the six months of sick leave credit to get you to 20 years? No. Retirement law does not permit it. You’ll have to work those extra six months to get the 20-year benefit rate, though sick leave credits can still be used in your final pension calculation.
Also, credit for unused sick can’t be used to:
- Qualify for vesting
- Reach a minimum retirement age
- Increase your pension beyond the maximum allowed under your retirement plan
- Meet the service credit requirement for a special 20- or 25-year plan
Check your retirement plan booklet for more information.