Many school districts allow employees to accrue unused sick days without limit and cash them out upon retirement.
In the Detroit district, for example, such a policy cost the district $12.5 million in unused sick leave in 2010-11.
It’s a major problem, but too many school districts are only taking baby steps to correct it.
In the small Holton, Michigan district, support personnel earn one sick day for each month worked. They’ve been allowed to accrue unused sick days without limit and cash them out upon retirement, or take extended leaves for any reason.
But now school officials are patting themselves on the back because they’ve capped the amount of unused sick days to be accrued at 120.
Superintendent Jason Kennedy wrote in a memo that “Sick days can be carried forward from year to year, and that led to employees being able to take ‘extended sick leave during any given year,’” the Muskegon Chronicle reported.
“(A) maximum cap limitation of 120 sick leave days has been added to prevent the over accumulation of sick days so that employees are not able to take multiple months of work in a row off beyond the 120 days,” he wrote.
Most school districts have about 180 days in an academic year. Even with the new cap, Holton school employees could potentially still take two-thirds of a school year off. That’s supposed to be a victory for the district and students?
But hey, this is what collective bargaining looks like.