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9/8/2009
Councilman Weiner: monitor other governments' sick leave policies - Community News

NCCo's sick leave explained

By Jesse Chadderdon
Community News
Posted Sep 08, 2009 @ 09:37 PM
Last update Sep 09, 2009 @ 04:30 PM

Wilmington, Del. —

A recent hot topic, New Castle County officials Tuesday sought to clear up misconceptions about the government's sick leave policy.

What We Knew

A growing number of critics, including some members of county council, have come out against the county's practice of paying out employees for unused sick time when they leave. Sick leave regulations are set at the bargaining table, rendering the council powerless to change them through legislation.

What We Learned

During Tuesday's Finance Committee Meeting, Acting H.R. Director LaTonya Ashley sought to debunk some pervasive myths about the policy -- specifically that it was more generous than other governments' and that there was no cap on the time employees could accrue.

Retiring employees are eligible for half the balance of their unused leave, up to 100 days, according to Ashley. Employees who leave for other reasons are paid for half of their unused balance up to 20 days. They earn seven hours of sick time each month they are employed, compared to state employees' 9.5 hours.

What They're Saying

Councilman Robert Weiner (R-Chatham), who requested the report, told the Community News last month he thought the county was too lenient in paying out accrued sick time.

On Tuesday, he softened his stance, saying only that he hoped the county would monitor other governments' sick time policies for comparison.

Council President Paul Clark defended the policy, saying it encouraged employee attendance and ensured productivity in the government.

"If you have a policy that doesn't reward people for not taking time off, then people are going to take advantage," he said.

NCCo Sick Leave Numbers to Know
Paid to retirees for unused time:
FY09: $618,909 (40 retirees)
FY08: $1.19 mil. (58 retirees)
FY07: $560,112 (30 retirees)
Saved from unused time in FY09:
$1.03 mil. (25,502 hours)

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