Federal Employee Sick Leave—All You Need To Know

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Discover the Details of the Federal Employee Sick Leave

Federal employees enjoy a plethora of benefits that may not be available to private-sector employees—for instance, federal employees can sometimes count on more paid time off due to illness and cannot be forced to work while sick.

What exactly are the rules for federal employee sick leave? will give you a comprehensive breakdown!

What Is the Federal Employee Sick Leave Policy?

A full-time federal employee earns up to 104 hours—or 13 days—of paid sick leave per year. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations on sick leave mandate that this leave can be utilized for:

  1. Personal medical reasons
  2. Bereavement
  3. Care of a family member
  4. Child adoption

Sick Leave for Personal Medical Reasons

Personal medical reasons are classified as:

  • Any medical examination or treatment, including dental and optical procedures
  • Mental illness
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Serious injury
  • Exposure to a communicable disease

Using Sick Leave for Bereavement

Federal employees are entitled to use their sick leave to deal with the death of a spouse, long-term partner, or family member. They can use this time off to mourn their loss and to make the necessary arrangements or attend funerals.

Utilizing Sick Leave To Care for a Family Member

Federal employees can take time off to care for a family member who is injured or severely ill—physically or mentally. They are also allowed to take paid time off to accompany a family member to a medical procedure or examination or if a family member has been exposed to a communicable disease.

By definition, family members include:

  • Parents
  • Parents-in-law
  • Spouses or domestic partners
  • Children—biological, adoptive, step, and foster
  • Grandparent and grandchildren
  • Siblings

Sick Leave for Child Adoption

Employees can get time off for child adoption activities, such as:

  • Appointments with adoption agencies
  • Traveling for adoption purposes
  • Court appointments and proceedings

Annual Usage Limit on Sick Leave for Federal Employees

The following table contains a breakdown of the annual usage limits of sick leave for federal employees:

Type of Sick LeaveUsage Limit
Personal medical reasonsUnlimited
Bereavement13 days
Care of a family member13–16 days

What To Do When You Don’t Have Paid Sick Leave

If a federal employee needs a prolonged sick leave but has spent all their paid days or does not have enough days accrued, they can:

  1. Use their annual leave days
  2. Apply for advance sick leave
  3. Look into voluntary leave donation programs
  4. Take unpaid time off

Using Annual Leave in Lieu of Sick Leave

An employee may choose to use their annual leave days in lieu of sick leave, but acceptance of such a request is entirely at the discretion of the employer. This leave can be used for emergency medical needs or taking care of a family member.

Employees can also ask for advance annual leave if they don’t have enough days accrued, but they will only be able to receive an advance on the total number of days they were set to accrue in that year. For instance, if you were set to accrue 15 days of leave for a given year, you can only request an advance leave of 15 days or less.

Apply for Advance Sick Leave

Federal employees can ask for an advance on their sick leave days. The cap on the number of days that can be requested depends on the medical reason. Here’s a breakdown of acceptable reasons and the maximum number of days that can be requested for each:

ReasonMaximum Number of Advance Days
  • Debilitating physical or mental illness
  • Caring for a seriously ill family member
  • Serious injury
  • Pregnancy or childbirth
30 days
  • Medical treatment or examination
  • Arrangements related to the death of a family member
  • Caring for a mentally or physically ill or injured family member
15 days

Voluntary Leave Donation Programs

Employees who do not have a sufficient sick leave balance but are in need can receive off days from other federal employees as a donation. These donations can be received through:

  • Voluntary Leave Transfer Program
  • Voluntary Leave Bank Program

While all federal agencies are required to offer the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program, offering the Voluntary Leave Bank Program is not mandatory.

Apply for Sick Leave Hassle-Free With DoNotPay

Calling in sick or having to send an elaborate email to request time off can be exhausting—especially if you’re feeling sick at work. DoNotPay has a solution that can help you apply for sick leave quickly! All you have to do is:

  • and look for the Request Sick Leave product
  • Enter some information about yourself and your employer
  • Let us know how many days you would like to take off

We will generate a custom request letter on your behalf, which you can choose to email directly to your employer!

DoNotPay can also show you what the specific laws of your state are regarding sick leave, including:

PennsylvaniaWashington D.C.Rhode Island
OregonWashington Vermont
New York NevadaArizona
New Jersey VirginiaCalifornia
FloridaNorth Carolina

Feeling Wronged by Your Employer? Send Demand Letters To Them in Small Claims Court With DoNotPay!

If your employer has rejected your request for earned sick leave, you can send demand letters to them with the help of DoNoPay! Here’s what our app can do for you:

  • Create a demand letter
  • Create a detailed script you can use in court
  • Gather necessary paperwork and fill out court forms
  • File the lawsuit

What About Other Perks Our App Offers?

DoNotPay offers valuable assistance with the following tasks:

DoNotPay Cares About Health Matters

Finding suitable and verified clinical trials you can participate in is often complicated and time-consuming. Still, with DoNotPay, it becomes a breeze! Our platform allows you to search through clinical trial databases and apply for the ones that seem acceptable to you.

If you want to make sure your health wishes are honored if you get too sick, we help you compose an advance health care directive based on your preferences. That’s not all—you can also name a person who can decide on your finances and estate if you get incapacitated by creating a power of attorney in our app!

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