Sick & Vacation Time Service Credit

Your annuity benefit with the Cook County Pension Fund is primarily based on three factors: your service credit, salary, and age at retirement.  While you can’t change your age or salary, under certain circumstances you can increase your service credit by saving vacation and purchasing unused sick time. Read more by viewing the Sick and Vacation Time Brochure.

In general, more service credit leads to a higher annuity benefit, up to the maximum of 80% of final average salary.


Your payroll department is responsible for tracking and maintaining vacation and sick time accruals.  The Fund does not have access to that information.

  • Vacation: Generally, the maximum vacation accrual for most Cook County employees is 320 hours (40 vacation days). 40 vacation days would add about two months of service credit.
  • Sick Time: The Illinois Pension Code allows for the purchase of up to 180 days of unused sick time. Buying 180 days would add about eight months of service credit.

General Calculation

Approximately every 22 days equals 1 month of service credit.

Lump-Sum Vacation Payout

When you separate from employment you will be paid your remaining vacation time in a lump-sum payout with your final pay check and the pension contribution will be withheld from this payment. You will receive service credit for retirement purposes for your unused vacation time that was paid-out in a lump-sum because pension contributions are withheld.

Sick Time

Unlike a vacation time, you will not get paid for unused sick time.  Because there is no payroll check
produced for unused sick time, no pension contributions are made to CCPF and no additional service is credited for this time.  Upon retiring or withdrawing from service, you can purchase service credit for unused sick time by making the applicable 8.5% pension contributions (9% for Sheriff’s Police) within 30 days after your date of separation from employment.

 Purchasing Sick Time

  1. After your last day of service, request on department letterhead a certification from your payroll department showing the number of unused sick and vacation hours you have available as of your date of separation from employment.
  2. Bring the certification letter from your payroll department to CCPF office within 30 days of your date of separation from employment
  3. CCPF staff will calculate the exact cost to purchase your sick time.  And let you know the approximate additional annuity benefit you can be expected with the payment.
  4. Payment must be received by CCPF within 30 days from your date of separation.

IMPORTANT:  Sick time payment must be made within 30 days from date of withdrawal from service.

Paying for Sick Time

When you bring your sick time certification to the Fund, you may also bring your checkbook and write a check for the cost of your sick time.  Payment should be made payable to the COOK COUNTY PENSION FUND.  Acceptable payment methods include:

  • Personal check
  • Money order
  • Tax-Deferred Direct Rollover (such as Nationwide) – Allow Additional time for processing

(Note:  For employees enrolled in the Cook County’s Deferred Compensation Plan “Nationwide” – you may use funds in your Nationwide Account as a direct rollover to pay for your sick time.  To do so, request that the Pension Fund Staff provide you with a rollover acceptance form, to submit to Nationwide, to authorize the direct rollover.  Please allow additional time for payment to be received as it can take up to two weeks for Nationwide to remit payment to CCPF.)

Remember, any sick time payment must be received within 30 days from your date of your separation from service.