Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sick Leave Makes Taxpayers Sick

Murphy has an interesting angle on the Legislator-Fraud/Professor Fraud problem:

In the meantime, the real scandal of sick pay isn’t being examined. Here’s how the law works: Workers pile up unused sick time over decades, going back to their earliest years, when their pay was comparatively low. But they cash in credits upon retirement based on their highest hourly rate of pay, rather than the pay earned when most unused sick days were actually amassed. This inflation affects not just profs or politicians but every state employee. Taxpayers pay more than they should because of an inflated way of accounting that could be easily corrected: Each employee’s unused sick days should be converted to credits at the end of each year at the hourly pay actually earned.

...As for legislators, the law only allows them 65 percent of the sick leave credit that other state employees get. Even if all 132 legislators faithfully reported the days they were sick, the annual savings for taxpayers would be peanuts.

By contrast, there’s a total of about 66,000 state government and UW employees. If all were given sick leave credits at the hourly pay they actually earned at the time, the savings for taxpayers would be massive. The system would also be much fairer, giving employees credit for the actual value of unused sick days. That’s the real scandal of sick leave, and a simple legal change could easily fix it.

Wanna bet your State income taxes for the next 10 years that this idea sinks into oblivion?

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