HR Operations

Sick Leave – Attendance Incentive Program

The Attendance Incentive Program allows you to cash out a portion of your sick leave balance. Cash-outs are allowed once a year during January.


You must meet the following requirements to participate in the program:

  • Your sick leave balance is greater than 480 hours as of January 1.
  • Your ending balance is greater than your starting balance for the year just ended. (You must have accrued more hours in that year than you used or donated.)
  • Your balance will be at least 480 hours after your cash-out.


Payment is at the rate of 25 percent of the value of your accrued sick leave. The value of the sick leave is based on your current salary.

For example, if your hourly rate is $20 and you want to cash out 10 hours, you will receive $50 ($20 x 10 x .25). Cash-outs are subject to taxes, so the amount you take home will be less than $50.

Full-time employees may cash out up to 96 hours per year. Maximums for part-time employees are prorated based on the employee’s FTE.

Requesting a cash-out

To request a cash-out, follow these steps:

  1. Confirm your sick leave balance is above 480 hours. You can find this information in Employee Self Service (ESS) or by speaking to your department’s timekeeper.
  1. Compare your starting and ending sick leave balances for the year just ended. This information is also in ESS or with your timekeeper. If your ending balance is higher than the starting balance, you may cash out all or part of the difference, as long as the remaining balance is 480 hours.
  1. Complete the appropriate version of the Request for Payment of Year-End Unused Sick Leave form:
  1. Allow enough time for your department to process the form and turn it into the Payroll office. Payroll must receive it no later than 5:00 p.m. on the last working day in January. Forms received after the deadline may not processed for payment.

You will receive your payment no later than the second paycheck of February. Once your cash-out is processed, your sick leave balance will be reduced by the number of hours you cashed out.

Department leadership should note that cash-out payments are charged to the department’s budget; they are not paid centrally.

Nearing retirement

If you are close to retiring, you may want to consider saving your unused sick leave. When you retire, you can create a medical expense account (called a VEBA) to pay post-retirement medical expenses for you and your eligible dependents. The cash-out rate is still 25 percent, but funds placed in VEBA are tax-free. See VEBA for more information.

Members of the Inlandboatmen’s Union are not eligible for a VEBA and therefore receive a taxable cash payment for their unused sick leave at the same 25 percent rate.