Gov. Baker pushing for reform of state earned sick time

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Baker wants to reform the state’s sick time policy. He said changing the sick time policy for state employees is the fiscally responsible thing to do.

The governor wants to save the state $3.5-million each year by reforming the sick time policy. Currently, a state worker can accrue a maximum 15 sick days each year. When they retire, they can get paid for 20% of their unused time.

“If you are sick, you use it. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Every company that I have ever worked for, if you don’t use it you lose it. The same should be for the government. That’s our taxpayer dollars hard at work,” said Denise Boyer of Northampton.

However, others disagree, saying sick time shouldn’t be questioned.

“I think if you put in the time, you have the right to use your sick time however you like,” said Maria Elena Cepeda of Northampton.

In 2015 nearly 400 state workers accrued more than 1,000 hours of paid sick time. Gov. Baker’s plan is to cap the accrual at 1,000 hours or 6 months of work. Stephen Phillips is an employer who told 22News he willingly pays for unused sick time each year.

“I encourage my employees to take time off. It’s good for everybody. If they don’t by the end of the year, it’s good for me. It means that they are putting more hours into work. But I pay them for it. I cash them out at the end of the year,” said Phillips.

The bill would not apply to nearly 6,000 state workers who already have more than 1,000 hours accrued.

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