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Know Your Benefits: Am I Eligible for the Sick Leave Program?

An important benefit the state provides its employees is the sick leave benefit. Each pay period, employees receive sick time. If they don’t use the sick time, the time is saved and converted to credits to pay for health insurance upon retirement. The sick leave credit program is run by the Department of Employee Trust Funds.

We occasionally see cases where an employee thought they were eligible to convert unused sick leave, but later found out they didn’t meet eligibility rules. To convert your unused sick leave hours, you must:

  • be in the group health insurance program at the time of retirement and
  • retire on an immediate retirement annuity, a disability annuity or a lump-sum benefit.

There is an exception for employees who terminate employment with 20 years of Wisconsin Retirement System creditable service and do not take an immediate retirement benefit from ETF.

The sick leave program is a state program so sick leave accumulated from a local unit of government does not count toward sick leave credits. Many local employers have their own sick leave programs, but these are not connected to ETF’s program.

Find out if you are eligible for this benefit before you retire. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact your employer’s payroll or benefits office.

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