What Happens to Your Unused Leave at Retirement?
Unused Sick Leave at Retirement
ACERA will convert your unused sick leave into service credit, as allowed by your bargaining unit. For most members, upon retirement, 50% of any unused sick leave balance can be converted to service credit and added to total years of service. Limitations can be found in your Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for your bargaining unit. Many MOUs limit the amount of sick leave that is convertible up to 125 days. Check with your Human Resources department for a copy of your MOU.
Converted sick leave does NOT count toward meeting retirement eligibility requirements.
To convert your unused sick leave to service credit, your retirement effective date must be the day after you terminate employment. Retirement-eligible members who terminate employment and choose not to apply for and begin retirement will not receive credit for unused sick leave. So if you spend even a single day in deferred status between active employment and retirement, ACERA will not be able to convert your sick leave to service credit.
For example: your MOU limits the amount of sick leave that is convertible to service credit up to 125 days of sick leave. You have 130 days of sick leave left on the books when you retire. If you go straight from active work into retirement, you may be eligible to receive half of 125 days as service credit, so you will receive 62.5 days of service credit. The remaining five days above 125 days that you had left on the books you do not get credit for.
Limits for Alameda Health System (AHS) members are little different: AHS members receive PTO rather than sick leave. Unused PTO does not count toward service credit (but can count toward highest average salary). AHS members also receive Extended Sick Leave and some members may still have some unused Intermittent Sick Leave (this leave was phased out in 2014). For AHS members who go straight from active work into retirement, ACERA will add together the remaining Extended Sick Leave plus remaining Intermittent Sick Leave (if any), and the member will receive half the total as service credit, up to a limit. Limitations can be found in your Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for your bargaining unit. Many MOUs limit the amount of sick leave that is convertible to 125 days (which would result in a maximum of 62.5 days of service credit). Check with your Human Resources department for a copy of your MOU.
Unused Compensatory Time and Floating Holidays
Compensatory time (comp time) and floating holidays remaining on the books at retirement do not count toward service credit. However, when taking time off and using accruals, you are credited with service. Thus, it can be to your advantage to use these time accruals prior to retirement.