FL: State employees get huge payout by swapping sick time for cash

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

TAMPA— Ever thought of taking all those saved sick days and vacation days and exchanging them for some cold, hard cash?

That’s the promotional offer being handed out to Florida state employees when they retire, resign or receive their pink slip, as enshrined in state law.

Public sector employees were awarded $51.7 million in cash compensation for unused sick time in 2011, according to the FY 2012 budget, taking advantage of a luxury not always offered to workers in the private sector.

That amount was given out to 28,000 state employees who lost their jobs in budget cuts, retired or voluntarily left their jobs, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

A rather rudimentary provision in the state budget guarantees a state employee’s access to cash compensation in the event of leftover sick or leave time.

“Payments for unused annual leave credits accrued on the member’s last anniversary date shall be prorated at 1/12th of the last annual amount credited for each month, or portion thereof, worked subsequent to the member’s last anniversary date,” states Section 8 of the FY 2012 budget, dedicated to salaries and benefits.

Sick leave cash payouts are standard practice in public sector union negotiations with cities and states, although not always as generous.

Read more: Florida Watchdog

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