Baker Administration Proposes Changes To Sick Leave Accrual For State Employees

massachusetts-state-house-300x198BOSTON – The Baker Administration Wednesday filed legislation aimed at capping the amount of sick time that can be accrued by state Executive Department employees, in an attempt to curb large-scale payouts to retiring employees.

The Act to Reform Sick Time would limit sick time accruals to 1,000 hours, or six months of work, for state employees. The Baker Administration says the proposal would bring Massachusetts in line with the private sector and other states.

“Sick leave is a benefit designed to offer employees a way to deal with health and family issues, not a retirement bonus,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Bringing the Commonwealth’s sick leave accrual policy in line with other private and public sector employers just makes sense and is the fiscally responsible thing to do.”

Roughly 5,800 thousand employees who have more than 1,000 hours accrued at this time would be grandfathered in under the current policy. If the bill passes, those employees would have their hours capped at the amount they have accrued on the date of enactment.

Under the current law, retiring employees are permitted to take a 20 percent payout of unused sick time. According to the Baker Administration, employees with more than 1,000 accrued sick hours represent only one-third of the retiring workforce, but account for 80 percent of the total sick time cash-out costs the state is on the hook for.

Baker’s office says the proposed act would save the state an average of $3.5 million per year.

“This legislation ensures the use of sick time remains consistent with its intended purpose,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. 

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