How are state workers abusing earned sick time?

The Baker administration said the proposal would save taxpayers $3.5M in sick time each year

BOSTON (WWLP) – The unions are frustrated by Governor Baker’s efforts to limit the accrual of sick time. They argue it’s not the front line employees cashing big checks upon retirement. It’s the high-level administrators.

Governor Charlie Baker filed a bill to cap sick leave for state employees at no more than 1,000 hours equal to six months of work. That’s because accrued enough sick times allows the checks to keep coming for months, and even years after retirement.

State Rep. Nicholas Boldyga, (R) Southwick stated, “It’s crucial that we’re not allowing these abuses in state government because the taxpayers are paying for them, especially when we hear about lucrative payouts to people to the tune of half-a-million dollars.” Former South Hadley Electric Light Department manager Wayne Doerpholz claimed he was owed more that $450-thousand for unused vacation days and sick time. He ultimately got $18-thousand.

The National Association of Government Employees testified against the bill Wednesday, arguing that it’s those in high-level positions who are abusing the sick time benefit.

David Holway, President, National Assoc. of Government Employees Union stated, “A vast majority of state employees use their sick leave when they are sick, period. They bank this sick leave in case something drastic happens.”

Rep. Boldyga also stated, “Any employee should not need two, three, four, five, ten years of sick leave time accrued.”

The Baker administration said the proposal would save taxpayers $3.5-million in sick time payouts each year. House Speaker Robert DeLeo admits there are problems with the current sick time policy, but he doubts they’ll find a solution for it this legislative session.

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