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Thread: Special Provisions ATC under FERS

  1. Default Special Provisions ATC under FERS

    Question: I recently heard that ATCs have a special provision for Sick Leave that is apparently different than traditional FERS??? Not sure...Do you know anything on this??

  3. #2

    Default Re: Special Provisions ATC under FERS

    ATCS's receive 40% of their sick leave balance at their current rate of pay. It's a contract thing. For example, if you retire with 1000 hours of sick leave and your hourly rate is $50 an hour you would get paid 400 x $50 or $20,000. Annual leave is paid at 100%. The sick leave provision is for NATCA bargaining unit members only. Not necessarily Union members but those eligible for union membership. There is a school of thought that it is better to burn your sick leave at the end of your career and collect full pay for 100% of your leave. I was forced out at age 56 (I stayed on an extension an extra 6 months) so I couldn't stay on the books to burn my sick leave anyway. I retired from the busiest ATC facility in the world after 35+ years, at the top of the pay band, with 1800 hours of sick leave (where did the other 1800 go?) and 448 hours of annual leave. The gross check was over 6 figures. They do take OSDI, Medicare, State and Federal taxes out of it and they were huge amounts but it was still a large sum. I earned much of that sick leave at lower pay rates over the years so I didn't see it as giving away 60% of my leave. Since I retired at the end of the year they pay it out as if you are still working in the next year. I got a surprise check in September of almost $1700 for the difference in what my raise would have been if I had stayed past Jan 1. It didn't quite add up but I sure wasn't going to turn it down.
    I believe if the government would pay 100% of sick leave upon retirement there would be much less sick leave abuse. Frankly it was rampant in the ATC world when I left. I had far and away more sick leave than any of the other 400 people in the building including the managers. Most people carried less than 200 hours. Some burned it as soon as they got 8 hours and many were in the hole. The overtime and shiftwork take a toll but sick leave is the best insurance policy for your family in the event of a serious injury or illness. JMHO. Best wishes...PH

  5. #3

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Washington State

    Default Re: Special Provisions ATC under FERS

    FYI: The NATCA union that ph66 mentioned (Nat'l. Air Traffic Controllers Association) has mostly ATC employees covered under it, and is a very good/ honorable and strong professional labor organization. it has a number of other bargaining units with non-ATC FAA employees; I was an Engineer in FAA and a proud member of NATCA for 25+ years before retiring (at the normal FERS full-retirement age, MRA + 30 at a minimum).
    ... Anyway, those other bargaining units are covered under different contracts than the ATC contract with FAA, so those differ in many ways in their articles & provisions. However, most if not all of those NATCA contracts currently include the FERS sick-leave buy-back option for retirees that ph66 outlines in their comments (note that sick leave abuse I think was not common in our ranks, and I highly agree w/ ph66's last sentence, and with the argument for increasing the SL cash-out amounts). Like ph66, I too recall that I took that cash-out option for my large sick-leave balance upon retirement, after my assessment of that against the option to convert those hours to time-in-service for pension computation purposes.


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