2 days left. I think I'm feeling a little ill. And there ought to be a change in law...

2 more days after today, and I'm on the road to Brookings to be there on a regular basis. I had my course charted, and many things planned out for my departure, until I hit one small bump in the road.

I'd planned for so much money to be available from this source, and that source, and I was looking forward to cashing in my unused sick leave. I had planned on using it to take the real estate pre-licensing course. Except for one thing. As I got down to the wire, I found out that while I'm vested for purposes of my retirement funds after three years, my sick leave isn't vested for seven.


With the state, if you don't use your sick leave, as an employee who is vested (having worked for so many years) you get 1/4th of your leave paid back to you. It's not a huge cash bump, but it provides a little extra when you're between jobs. Except for me. Because I didn't have 7 years of continuous service in this stint. I've worked for the state off and on for enough time that I got my ten year pin a few years back, and I even get a longevity check. I even think I have a few more years service I could claim from part-time work in college.

But when it comes to my most recent stint, do I get the privilege of getting at least a portion of those unused sick leave hours back? No? Great. That's just great. Yay for Pat for not taking those hours. Atta boy.

I get my employer match from the state on my retirement after three years, but they hold your unused sick leave hostage for seven years of continuous service? Who came up with that stupid idea? Talk about your inconsistencies. If I had realized that earlier, I think I'd have gone and had some elective surgery done. At least I would have received those days off with pay.

In private employer arrangements I've been in, your sick days can be used whether it's you, or your kids who are sick. They give you fewer hours, but it's more flexible. Not the state. You get so many hours yearly for sick kids, and so many for your sick self - and the twain shall never meet.

It's an arrangement I've always found more than a bit discriminatory towards larger families. In a private employer environment, it was no problem for me. But under the rules of "the man," as a person having more than 2 or three small kids, I'd burn through that personal leave and have to actually use my vacation leave to care for sick kids. While at the same time, I'd have this ever growing bank of hours of sick leave I'd never touch, because I'm one of those people who are never sick.

It might have irked me, but those were the rules, and it was just a fact of life. And I'd also dread the cold, flu, and strep throat season. Bye bye summer vacation. Bye bye.....

I don't think I'd be so annoyed at the whole situation if the time for being vested for purposes of retirement was actually consistent with being vested for purposes of sick leave. Because the former is of huge benefit, and the latter can often be a pretty minor one.

So, representatives of towns with significant state employee populations, here's a bill for you to ponder for this next session. Why don't you make the period of vestment for retirement and sick leave actually match. It's not a huge gesture. But it's a gesture nonetheless.

It might even help the next schmuck who comes along in line.


Anonymous said…
Please don't take offense at this...this is meant as an honest comment. But when you get hired someplace, it is a good thing to know what the rules are at the beginning. I'm sorry it didn't work out, but maybe you should take some responsibility for not having asked that question awhile back.
Anonymous said…
Kind of funny you'd bring a subject like this up, cause you and I, both being republicans, are kind of running against the grain.

My issue is non-compete contracts.

Our state is classified as a "right-to-work" state...which should really be called "right-to-fire", cause it gives employers the right to fire anyone, basically without giving them any reason why.

At the same time, it's legal to force employees to sign a non-compete clause that bans them from going to work for the competition.

What it basically does, is make employees choose between changing careers, or moving, if they quit their job, or even in some cases, get fired.

It just seems to me, that employers shouldn't have it both ways.

I understand the arguments behind non-competes, cost of training, etc. But it's still my belief that if you treat your people right, you shouldn't have to worry about them leaving. I offered non-competes to four of my top employees, but not as a condition of continued employment, and with a nice bonus attached if they chose to sign.

I'm a republican legislator in SD, and am contemplating a bill that would put some restrictions on non competes, but would like some feedback first. I'm thinking on the lines of non-competes could only be required of the highest 10% of your pay scale, and that they would be compensated at 5% of their annual earnings if they sign.

I thought this would be a good forum to see if that would be a popular bill. I'm sure many of my fellow republicans won't like it, but is it a reasonable compromise?

Your thoughts?
Anonymous said…
Wow. What a great idea. A post in the morning that you're whining you don't get to keep sick leave?

Sheebus. Sick leave is a privialedge, not an entitlement. It's not cash in the bank - it's a benefit for working for an employer. In my opinion, you should never get cash for your sick days.

That's why many forward thinking businesses have gone away from "sick leave" alltogether - because people like you crying that you don't get the money when you leave.

Instead, they've gone to a "personal day" allotment - days which you can use however you want, whether it's sick or vacation.

What a baby.
mikemehlhaffjr said…
Anonymous said…
8:13 - you might take notice that the 3 year retirement vesting has only been changed in the last few years. The rules change all the time.

And hasn't Mike Jr. been begging around every office in the state for an office job? (hint - college helps)
Anonymous said…
Little Mehlhaff must be typing that from bed, since he doesn't have a job to get up for in the morning.

(As he cries to the picture of Jarrod Johnson by his bed... "Why couldn't you have loved me Jarrod? Why?")
Anonymous said…
as a business owner, and a Democrat, this post just makes me laugh.

take some responsibility. know the rules.

and, please, try to stay off unemployment.

and i love that a state employee has so much time to blog. did we pay for this sick-leave-diatribe?
Anonymous said…
I'm trying to figure out what elective surgery PP would have chosen. Facelift? tummy tuck? hair replacement?

As to the noncomepte clause issue, I don't think we've seen it as a big problem in SD so far, but like everything else it will probably become more prevalent. There are valid reasons for noncompete clauses, but they are also subject to abuse. It bears some investigation as to what problems have come up in other states and what those other states have done to deal with the problems. To the legislator, LRC or NCSL can look into this at your request.
Anonymous said…
9:06 - with 10 kids, it might have been something else.

8:55 - what? the slow mehlhaff wasn't good enough to fetch Jen's coffee?
Anonymous said…
Isn't saying Slow Mehlhaff like saying Wet Water?
Anonymous said…
Stop picking on Mike. He's been one of the hardest workers in SD politics, and helps teenage Republicans!
PP said…
Obviously, a few of you disagree, and others miss the point I was trying to make.

I know I'm SOL. In the big scheme of things, it's not going to get me to hang around another year or so.

Aside from kvetching, about how some of the benefits are done, my point was (and is) that the period of time for being vested should be consistent.

And 8:58, please feel free to bend forward and plant a big smooch on my keester. Anyone who knows me knows that I keep my personal writing and professional life separate.
Anonymous said…
Join a union commrade.

What does Mehlsloth Jr. do these days?
Anonymous said…
It's possible that he takes barbie dolls, writes "Jen" on them, and then screams his frustrations at them.

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