FORT EDWARD — Washington County supervisors are taking another look at incentives for employees who never take a sick day.
A handful of employees have been sick so rarely they have saved 205 sick days. That’s the maximum they are allowed to save, which means that they lose any additional sick days if they don’t call in sick.
Treasurer Al Nolette called that situation unfair, saying that employees shouldn’t lose the benefit just because they are reliable, healthy employees. The situation could encourage them to call in sick when they just want a vacation day, he said.
But the supervisors rejected a plan for a second bank of sick days that employees could use if they were struck with a weeklong illness.
Now supervisors will vote Friday on a different idea: a second bank that can only be used in a catastrophic illness or injury.
Employees who hit the 205-day maximum would be able to save additional days in a secondary bank. They can’t use those days unless they have already used all 205 saved sick days.
Supervisors seemed to think that was a better way of handling the situation.
Some of them had objected to letting employees use the secondary bank if they were only sick for a week. They had plenty of sick days to cover that sort of illness, said Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff.
“You didn’t think 205 was enough?” Haff said at a Finance Committee meeting.
Nolette argued that employees should get to keep their sick days in some way.
“What I felt was unfair was, someone who did not use any of their sick days would not get a benefit that someone who took all their sick days would get,” he said. “It was something I felt was potentially broken.”
The person who does not use any sick days is able to save them toward retirement, but there is a limit on that.
At retirement, employees can apply up to 165 days as service credit in the state retirement system. That credit can’t be used to reach their retirement date, but can be used to increase their pension once they reach the minimum retirement date, Nolette said.
The county also pays employees for 25 percent of their remaining sick days, after they put as much as they can toward retirement. If an employee had saved the maximum of 205 days, they would get paid by the county for 10 days, Nolette said.