Gov. Charlie Baker filed legislation that would cap executive branch workers' sick time accrual at 1,000 hours — a figure equivalent to about six months of work.
Baker's office announced the filing in a statement, saying the measure would limit "accruals that have led to exorbitant payouts upon retirement from state government" and bring Massachusetts' policy on sick time accrual in line with other states and the private sector. The bill would apply to workers in constitutional offices and state agencies.
“Sick leave is a benefit designed to offer employees a way to deal with health and family issues, not a retirement bonus,” Baker, a Republican, said in the statement.
If the legislation had been implemented over the last three years, the cap would have saved the state about $3.5 million in cash-outs each year, the statement said.
“Recent media reports highlighting excessive sick leave payouts in the public higher education system clearly demonstrate the need to crack down on these types of abuses,” House Minority Leader Bradley Jones Jr., a North Reading Republican, said in the statement. “The reforms proposed by the Baker-Polito Administration will help to provide greater transparency and accountability to the state’s taxpayers.”
The plan would grandfather in the approximately 5,800 state workers who already have more than 1,000 hours in their sick time banks, the statement said.
Currently, state employees can accumulate a maximum of 15 days per year of sick time, and upon retirement, employees are then permitted to cash out 20 percent of unused sick time.
With reporting by WBUR's Newscast Unit and Lisa Creamer
This article was originally published on May 25, 2016.