Every Day Is A Holiday
Vacation, Holiday and Sick Leave
By Robert Schussel, Ph.D
The City of Vallejo offers a generous vacation/holiday and sick leave package to its employees
City Employees are able to accrue large amounts of vacation time and unlimited amounts of sick leave that create a large unfunded liability for the City. For example, a Police Captain was able to cash out $300,000 from these accruals.
Below are specific comments (see table for details)
Vallejo Police get 192 hours of vacation a year versus 172 hours for other Police Departments in a 15 City comparison group.
Relatively few Employers in the Private sector provide 5 weeks of vacation.
This means that long term employees can receive up to a half years additional salary when they retire.
In the private sector accrual of vacation is typically limited to 20 to 30 days maximum to prevent large amounts of unfunded liability on the books.
While most City employees get 2.6 weeks of paid holidays (11 regular holidays and 2 floating holidays) Firefighters receive the equivalent of 4.1 weeks and Police 3 weeks .
For Firefighters, all holiday pay is calculated at the overtime rate even though the probability that they work a shift on a holiday is 33%.
1) With the exception of Firefighters and Police, City Employees earn one (1) sick day per month (2.4 weeks per year).
Firefighters receive one shift per month for sick leave which is equivalent to 5.1 weeks per year ( Firefighters work 2.333 shifts per week).
Police receive 120 hours (12 ten hour shifts equivalent to 3 weeks) versus 96 hours ( 2.4 weeks) per year for most police departments.
2) What is unusual about Vallejo's sick leave policy is that there is no upper limit on the number of days that can be accrued. This creates a huge unfunded liability. In theory a 30 year employee could accrue 1.4 years of sick leave.
For most positions, employees who leave can cash out accrued sick days at half their current hourly wage. Those retiring can put 100% of their accrued sick days towards PERS service credit.
When put towards retirement the City must contribute an additional 16% to 28% of the value of these sick days towards the employees' pension --a significant expense for the City.
Sick leave was originally conceived as a way to help employees—not as a benefit from which an employee should profit.
Generous holiday, vacation and sick leave means Vallejo Fire and Police work fewer regular hours than those in other Cities.
Regular hours worked by Vallejo Police is 94% of the average of police in the 15 City comparison (1638 versus 1743). source--http://policepay.blogspot.com/2008/09/vallejo-police-officer-compensation.html
Mid career Police in Southern CA get 358 hours per year in total for vacation, holidays and sickness versus 400 for Vallejo Police Department.
Limiting the number of days will dramatically decrease the unfunded liability the City currently has.
It has been argued that replacing PSU employees who take sick leave/vacation, with someone who is paid OT is more expensive than allowing these large accruals of time.
It should be noted that it may be a wash as saving cheaper earlier time until retirement may cost the City more than the 50% additional cost of overtime. More critical is that accruing time creates a large unfunded liability.