Retiring Postal Worker Deborah Ford: 44 Years, No Sick Days

Deborah Ford no sick days

U.S. Post Service worker Deborah Ford retired this week with a perfect attendance record: 44 years on the job, without taking a single sick day. That means the 64-year-old Ford (above) logged just short of 11,000 workdays.

"You know what we say -- rain, sleet or snow" can't stop the U.S. mail, she told Detroit TV station WDIV-TV. "And that's what I live by. I'm coming in," said Ford, who used vacation time for doctor's appointments. And whenever she didn't feel well, "I'd shake it off," she said.

Chuck Howe, the Postal Service manager who oversees the Detroit district and its more than 13,000 employees in Michigan's eastern half, called Ford's service "amazing and remarkable."

He presented her with a special retirement proclamation during a surprise send-off luncheon Wednesday.

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Ford's accomplishment isn't enough to gain her entry into the record books, however. She's beaten by Mildred "Millie" Parsons, who started working at the FBI when she was 25, and retired in 2002, almost 63 years later, without taking a single sick day.

While not taking a sick day for decades is impressive, many American workers don't have the luxury of paid sick days to begin with. Thirty-eight percent of private sector employees lack any paid sick days, according to the left-leaning Center for American Progress. Twenty-five percent of full-time workers have to sacrifice a day's wages when they're sick in bed, as do 73 percent of part-time workers.

But the Postal Service is particularly generous. According to its website, employees accrue four hours of paid sick leave every 13-day pay period, which adds up to a paid sick day a month. These days apparently accumulate over the years, without limitation.

More: Flu Outbreak Prompts Fierce Debate Over Paid Sick Days

Under the civil service formula, Ford will receive a 5 percent increase in her pension for the unused sick days, postal spokesman Ed Moore told the Detroit Free Press.

Ford worked at Detroit's main post office on West Fort Street, where her job appropriately involved logging time cards and keeping attendance records.

The crowd at Ford's party hooted and applauded. She smiled and told them that she would miss them.

"It's been my honor to serve the postal system all these years," Ford said. "You don't miss the brick and mortar, but you certainly miss the people."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Do you know how she will be thanked? They will strip her of that time and give her a small percentage because she wasn't sick.

I never used up "unnecessary sick time" and when I was struck with a major health set back, I had no worries about paying the mortgage in the 6 months I was recouperating. Others just take every day they get and have nothing. You have to save some sick time people. You never know when you may need it.

October 05 2013 at 10:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Multiple streams you are a complete idiot who likes to mouth off about nothing you know about. You know NOTHING about working conditons inside the post office or that slackers become useless management not through merit but who they slept with or did favors for. Do you think that woman will enjoy her retirement since she looks close to death. She never had a baby or any family or illness that required her to use sick leave after 44 years??? Sounds unreal to me. If she was sick she made sure to give it to everyone else. What did she take? Leave without pay? No way in hell she never got sick in 44 years. BS story.

October 05 2013 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a dumb ass! She gave all her money in sick leave right back to those psychos! When I retired I took ALL of my sick and annual leave with me. I don't know how she lastest 44 years unless she was sleeping with the bosses. I couldn't last more than 33 years with those psychos.

October 05 2013 at 2:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

yes your sick days accumulate---BUT !!! you only get paid for 25 percent of the days unused when you retire, so you worked 1 whole month for 1 sick day give them all back when you leave .....maybe it's me...

July 08 2013 at 9:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Wow. She did good work. Her salary is $54,818 as a GS 7 Step 10. At 44 years, her sick time would add 2.2 years and her total creditable service would be 46.2 years. Assuming she did not get tricked into switching to the FERS system, and she remained on the CSRS system, that means she will receive $46,257 per year until she dies, with occasional COLA increases. Since sick time DOES add about 5% to her total if she is on CSRS I believe she is on that system. The $46 K does not include any money she may have put in TSP or IRA during her tenure.

If she HAD got suckered into FERS like many people did, and this is what CURRENT government employees are on, the average high three was likely the same due to no raise the last few years, so 1.1% of $54,818, unless she is married then 1%. She does not mention in the video her husband, nor does the article mention anything. For the sake of argument let's just use the 1%. Sick time would add 286 days (50% of the 572 days she accrued) to her 44 years. There are complicated rounding factors so for the sake of expediency let's just say it is 1 year. So 45 years times $548.82 = $24696.90 per year for retirement. TSP and Social Security would likely bring that number closer to the $46k the CSRS person would be getting, but that's no guarantee.

Either way, the pension is pretty nice. The CSRS loses Social Security in most instances, but has a much higher pension to offset it, with possible non-matched TSP investment and IRA. They also contributed significantly more to their pension fund that FERS workers, which is offset by the Government and the individual each not having to pay the 7% SS tax. The FED also does not match TSP contributions. So over all it sounds like the CSRS people have a better deal than FERS, because FERS AND the government have to each contribute the 7% to SS, plus the FED has to contribute up to 5% to the TSP. The FERS employee only puts in a pittance for their pension. So CSRS and FERS sound like either a wash or CSRS is actually overall cheaper for the FED.

May 04 2013 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That is the way everyone should work. We would all be better off .

May 04 2013 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow what dedication.

January 30 2013 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Damn, it must be nice to love what you do. Kudos to her!

January 30 2013 at 9:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Too bad the rest of her race in Detroit don't believe in working for a living. Would help out the ones that do work and pay taxes.

January 30 2013 at 6:48 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply


January 30 2013 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Charlie's comment

Congratulations to you also.

January 30 2013 at 11:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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