Lawmaker reintroduces FERS sick leave bill

A bill introduced in the House on Tuesday would allow workers in the Federal Employees Retirement System to cash out their unused sick leave upon retirement.

The benefit also would apply to employees covered under the Foreign Service Pension System and U.S. Postal Service retirement plan.

FERS employees currently cannot count unused sick leave toward their retirement annuity. Employees hired before 1984 are covered under the Civil Service Retirement System and do receive such credit for unused sick leave. The new legislation, introduced by Rep. James Moran, D-Va., would provide FERS employees with a benefit equal to that of their CSRS counterparts, allowing them to add any unused sick leave to the number of years they have worked in the government to determine their annuity at retirement.

The House in July 2008 passed a similar provision as part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. While the sick leave provision received overwhelming support in the House, a threat from Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., to block it and a veto threat from former President George W. Bush -- both unrelated to the sick leave provision -- helped stall the measure in the Senate.

Federal employees now receive 13 days of sick leave annually and can carry over unlimited amounts of sick leave annually. But the discrepancy between the two retirement systems has prompted more FERS employees to use up their sick leave as they approach retirement. For example, 85 percent of CSRS employees said they conserved most of their sick leave, while 75 percent of FERS workers reported they would use as much of it as possible as they neared retirement, according to a 2004 survey by FPMI Solutions, an Alexandria, Va.-based human resources staffing and training company.

"FERS' use-it or lose-it system for sick leave hampers productivity and increases training costs," Moran said. "We need to be incentivizing the accrual of sick leave, not encouraging employees to call in sick in the weeks leading up to retirement."

Federal employees' and managers' associations have long supported the sick leave measure.

"The federal government got the unused sick leave issue right under CSRS," said Richard Brown, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees. "They gave employees a modest benefit for their time, and absentee rates remained very low. The system worked well for everyone. It makes a lot of sense to return to a system where the judicious use of sick leave is rewarded, not penalized."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.