What is the enhanced sick leave payout program?
The enhanced sick leave payout program will provide eligible employee with an increased sick leave payout if they either submit a letter of intent to retire on or before March 15, 2021, with an effective date of retirement on or before June 30, 2021, (the "First Window") or submit a letter of intent to retire between March 16, 2021 and September 30, 2021, with an effective retirement date between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 (the "Second Window").
How much sick leave could I be paid if I retire under this program?
The payout amount under the enhanced sick leave payout program will be based on your sick leave balance as of the last day of your employment.
For eligible employees who retire in the First Window (on/before June 30, 2021), the sick leave payout will be calculated in accordance with the schedule below:
For eligible coaches who retire in the Second Window (between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022), the sick leave payout will be calculated as follows:
How can I confirm my eligibility?
Contact your university Human Resources office to verify your eligibility. Participation is limited to active, regular full-time employees who have met the eligibility criteria for majority paid annuitant healthcare at the time of retirement, as follows:
- Meeting the required years of service on or before March 15, 2021
- Meeting the required age (if applicable) on or before the effective date of retirement
Example 1: Your current hire date is July 1, 1999 – for majority paid annuitant healthcare you will need to attain age 60, with at least 20 years of State System service. As of March 15, 2021, you will have in excess of 20 years of service, so you have met the service requirement. You will turn age 60 on June 15, 2021. As long as you select a retirement date between June 15 and June 30, 2021, you are eligible to participate in the First Window of the ESLP, and will receive the highest level of increased payout.
Example 2: Your current hire date is July 1, 1999 – for majority paid annuitant healthcare you will need to attain age 60, with at least 20 years of State System service. As of March 15, 2021, you will have in excess of 20 years of service, so you have met the service requirement. But, you will not be turning age 60 until May 1, 2022. As long as you select a retirement date between May 1 and June 30, 2022, you are eligible to participate in the Second Window of the ESLP, and will receive the increased payout applicable to those later retirees.
Example 3: Your current hire date is March 1, 1997. You are age 56. You are hoping to attain eligibility for majority paid annuitant healthcare and retire with 25 years of service. You will have 25 years of service in 2022, prior to the retirement deadline of June 30, 2022 for the Second Window of the ESLP. But, you are
not eligible for the ESLP program, because you have not met the years of service requirement prior to March 15, 2021.
I am eligible for and interested in the ESLP program, but I am enrolled in the SERS retirement plan, and I am under the age of 60. What information do I need to make my decision about ESLP?
If you are enrolled in the SERS retirement plan, you should be aware that if you retire and begin to draw your pension prior to reaching normal retirement age sometimes referred to as “superannuation", your monthly pension payments may be reduced from the full amount had you retired on or after reaching superannuation status. For SERS participants enrolled prior to 1/1/2011, superannuation status is achieved upon reaching the age of 60, or by completing 35 years of service at any age. If you retire under the ESLP program before your normal retirement age, you should contact SERS and request an estimate of your monthly pension amount, which will be a reduced amount. Generally, the further you are away from the SERS normal retirement age, the greater the amount of the early retirement reduction increase.
In addition, you will want to contact your university Human Resources team to determine the incremental sick leave payout you would be eligible for under the ESLP program. Then, you can compare the monthly reduction in your future pension payments over your remaining lifetime, versus the incremental payment you would receive at retirement under ESLP, and determine which alternative has more financial benefit for you. You may also want to take into consideration that no matter which monthly benefit payment you would choose for your monthly SERS benefit, you have the option to withdraw your employee contributions and interest in a lump sum, up to four installments which you may roll over into a traditional IRA or other qualified plan in which you could continue to have earnings grow tax-deferred until you decide to make a withdrawal.
If you have an investment advisor, accountant or tax planner, the input of one of those professionals may be very helpful to you in this decision.
What must I do to received an enhanced sick leave payout?
Eligible employees must either:
First Window of ESLP - Submit a letter of intent to retire to their University President on or before March 15, 2021, with an effective date of retirement on or before June 30, 2021 OR
Second Window of ESLP - Submit a letter of intent to retire to their University President between March 16, 2021, and September 30, 2021 with an effective date of retirement Between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022
If I submit my retirement letter, can I later change my mind?
Once you submit your intent to retire letter as part of this program, and it is accepted, it cannot be rescinded.
Sick Leave Balance and Payout
How can I find out how much sick leave I have?
You can view your current sick leave balance by logging into
Employee Self Service. Once logged in, click on the “Employee Self Service" tab, then “Leave & Time", then “Display Leave Balances".
The available balances in the categories of “Sick Leave" and “Sick Family Leave" should be combined to determine the total sick leave balance to be included in the sick leave payout calculation. In the illustration below, this employee's total sick leave balance would be 1,187.32 hours (1,149.82 hours + 37.5 hours), which converts to 158 days.
The total hours are divided by 7.5 and rounded down to the whole number of days (any fraction of a day is dropped). In this example, the employee is scheduled to work 7.5 hours/day (37.5 hours/week). If the employee's work schedule was 8 hours/day (40 hours/week), the total sick leave hours would be divided by 8, and rounded down to the whole number of days.
How will my sick leave payout be paid to me?
Your sick leave payout is paid in a lump sum on your final paycheck via direct deposit along with your final pay. Sick leave payouts are taxed at a rate of 22% for federal income tax purposes. State and local taxes are deducted at the normal rates.
Can I put my sick leave payout into a tax deferred account?
Participants enrolled in the Deferred Compensation Plan may have federal income tax deferred on their sick leave payout by rolling it into their Deferred Compensation account. Current IRS limits may impact the actual amount you can defer. For details on the Deferred Compensation plan, including the contribution limits, see the
Deferred Compensation Plan Features and Highlights.
Sick leave payouts
cannot be rolled into a Tax-Sheltered Annuity – 403b Plan.