Sick Leave


Both permanent and temporary employees earn sick leave. The earning rate differs based on their work schedules. All full-time employees, regardless of their length of service, earn four hours of sick leave each full biweekly pay period. Part-time employees earn one hour of leave for every 20 hours in a pay status. Employees do not accrue sick leave in pay periods where leave without pay or absence without leave reaches 80 hours. Intermittent employees do not earn sick leave.

Use of Sick Leave

Sick leave is a qualified right of the employee and may be used only for the reasons defined below:

1. When the employee or one of his or her family members has a medical, dental or optical examination.

2. When the employee cannot work because of a physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth.

3. When the employee provides care for one of his or her family members who requires it because of physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth.

4. When the employee arranges for or attends a family member's funeral.

5. When the employee's presence would expose others to a communicable disease.

6. When the employee adopts a child. Adoption Benefits Guide for Federal Employees. Appointments with adoption agencies, social workers, and attorneys; court proceedings; required travel and any other activities necessary to allow the adoption to proceed are covered.

The following relatives of employees are considered family members:

1. Spouses and their parents;
2. Children, including adopted children, and their spouses;
3. Parents;
4. Brothers and sisters, and their spouses; and
5. Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

When employees use sick leave for general family member care, they may not use more than the amount they earn each year. For full-time employees, that is 13 days or 104 hours.

Sick leave becomes available for use at the beginning of the pay period during which the employee earns it. There is no limitation on the amount s/he may carry forward each year. When an employee leaves federal service, the sick leave may be recredited upon their return to federal service. This provision was effective December 2, 1994 and does not apply to employees who left federal service and were re-employed prior to December 2, 1994. Generally, sick leave of more than three consecutive workdays should be supported by medical documentation. Supervisors may request medical documentation at any time, if s/he doubts the validity or adequacy of the request. When the evidence does not justify the approval of sick leave, the absence may be charged to annual leave with the employee's consent, AWOL, or leave without pay. In addition, if the employee is ill during a period of annual leave, s/he may substitute sick leave contingent upon evidence or documentation acceptable to the supervisor.

In addition, it is possible to advance sick leave. Although not a routine procedure, in cases of serious disability, illness or confinement for childbirth, activities may advance full-time employees up to 30 days of sick leave. Employees with part-time or uncommon tours of duty are also eligible; however, the advance is pro-rated.

DOD guidance is found at DODI 1400-25.M, Civilian Personnel Manual, Chapter 630 (see link below). Click on Civilian Personnel Manuals, then click on Chapter 600. The Defense Finance and Accounting Regulation, DoD 7000.14-R, Financial Management Regulation See Volume 8, Civilian Pay Policy and Procedures, Chapter 5 for more guidance.

The Office of Personnel Management Web Site also has information on sick leave. Click on Index, then click on Compensation Administration, then click on Leave Administration.

Content last reviewed: 1/23/2008-WHO