Wow… from MacIver.
As previously reported by MacIver News, Wisconsin allows state workers to convert their unused sick leave into health insurance payments at retirement. State workers earn 16.25 sick days a year. The typical public employee in the system uses just over eight days based on 2016 averages. The unused days carry over year-to-year and accumulate throughout the employee’s career.
Sick leave is calculated using the employee’s highest rate of pay. Similar to higher pension benefits, employees with higher value sick leave account balances tend to have a higher rate of pay, work longer and are older than the average retiree.
Every state worker is enrolled in ASLCC (Accumulated Sick Leave Conversion Credit Program). That program takes the number of unused sick hours an employee has and multiplies it by their highest basic hourly pay rate.
Upon a retiree’s death, surviving spouses and dependents are eligible to use credits from both programs. Sick leave credit conversion accounts have no cash value and do not accrue interest over time.
Employees who have worked for the state for over 15 years are also enrolled in SHICC (Supplemental Health Insurance Conversion Credit Program). This program takes the employee’s ASLCC amount and matches a certain portion of it.
But they sure do add up – to the tune of $3 billion in obligations, as MacIver News Service reported last year.
This is yet another sweetheart benefit that government employees receive at the expense of taxpayers that is virtually unheard of in the private sector. Sick leave is a benefit that allows employees to be able to take a sick day without losing pay. In virtually every other employer, sick leave is use it or lose it. If an employee doesn’t get sick, they should count their blessings and move on.
Here are two other ways to handle time off that some employers are doing – and I really like:
- Don’t have any limit on Paid Time Off (PTO) and base it on performance. This only works for job roles where performance is relatively easy to measure, but the normal experience is that employees take fewer days off when they have unlimited days. When an employer sets a number of days and it’s use it or lose it, employees feel obligated to take all of their days off even if they don’t need or want to.
- Don’t differentiate between “sick” and other forms of PTO. In this method, an employee just gets a fixed number of PTO days per year (still use it or lose it) and they can use it for whatever they want. It’s really none of the employer’s business whether the employee or sick or not. The only relevant fact is that the employee is not at work. With this method, employees can actually use more “sick” days, if they need it, but they do so at the expense of “vacation” days.
It is long past time for the State of Wisconsin to update their HR policies for the modern world.