Saving up sick leave, and more
- By Milt x_Zall
- Dec 19, 2002
A Reader Writes:
I find it rather interesting that the government doesn't give us anything
for our sick leave when we retire. When I was in the private sector, they
used to pay us for all unused sick leave, but they referred to it as personal
I feel that there should be a couple of options, one being that we should
have the option of being paid for it, at whatever grade we were when we
earned it. The second option would be to add it onto one's retirement.
Adding it to one's retirement is better than nothing, but it is not
that good of a deal. Let's say that you are making $70,000 a year and that
you have six months of sick leave. Based on the Federal Employees Retirement
System, it would take you 50 years to get $35,000 back. Of course, if the
system were paying you for the time at what your grade was when you earned
it, you would probably get only $25,000 back, which would still take you
about 36 years to break even with a cash payout.
Then of course there is a third option that kind of gets into the ethics
area. You could start getting sick for, let's say, two days a week for the
last year or two until you had used up all of your sick leave. Some people
would say this is not ethical, but what about the workers who get sick every
time they earn a day or two of sick leave?
If the government doesn't want to pay us for it, then I think we should
just be able to go on sick leave six months before we retire.
I don't think that it is fair to federal employees who have a lot of
sick leave to be penalized just because they have saved it for a time they
might really need it and have been lucky enough not to have to use all of
It would be nice if the federal employees would unite on this one, as
it seems very unfair to me. The word to me seems to be, "penalize all of
our healthy employees."
Unused sick leave is creditable toward retirement if you are in Civil
Service Retirement System. It's not creditable if you're in FERS.
If you think of accumulated sick leave as an insurance policy while
you're actively employed, you may not feel so bad. After all, you wouldn't
complain if your employer paid for your life insurance while employed but
not upon retirement. You wouldn't want to die while employed just so your
survivor got the benefit!
A Reader Writes:
Who makes up the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) board? Who does it answer
to? How is it selected? How is the executive director selected? What role
does the federal employee have in determining who administers TSP operations
and how our TSP money is handled?
It seems to me a complete disclosure of these questions may help federal
employees make up their minds about who to hold responsible for more than
five years of wasted time and money for a new computer system that has not
even operated yet.
The Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 established the
Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board as an independent agency.
The act vests responsibility for the agency in five board members and
the executive director. The five members of the board, one of whom is designated
as chairman (presently James Atkins), are appointed by the president with
the advice and consent of the Senate and serve on the board on a part-time
FEDS don't have a role in the board's management except for those employed
by the board.
James Petrick, 25-year federal employee recently, recently replaced
Roger Mehle as executive director. Mehle resigned last month after nearly
nine years as the board's chief executive and had served on the board since
its inception in 1986.
The board's five members appointed Petrick as executive director upon
the recommendation of Mehle. Petrick had been director of the board's Office
of Benefits and Investments.
For more information, see the FRTIB Web site (www.frtib.gov) or the TSP Web site (www.tsp.gov).
A Reader Writes:
My question involves the commercial activities review process and its
inequities to the feds it is taking out of the loop.
How can they consider it cheaper not even in the short term but in
the long term, or life cycle, of a product or service that so much time
and money is spent reinventing the wheel?
Contracting out is done for political reasons. In my opinion, it never
Zall is a retired federal employee who since 1987 has written the Bureaucratus
column for Federal Computer Week. He can be reached at [email protected]