Retired federal employee James Stephens writes in a new op-ed piece on FederalTimes.com that managers should forget about trying to define and respond to sick leave abuse:
I did not abuse sick leave … I treated my sick leave as an asset to be used. At one point, I had more than 1,500 hours of accumulated sick leave. On the day I retired I had no balance.
The problem is that managers pretend that the problem is employees who abuse something that isn’t theirs. … Agencies should view excessive sick leave as a symptom of another problem, depression, job burnout, disagreements with management or whatever. They should address the cause, not the symptom.
Here’s what he proposes:
Rather than have categories of annual and sick leave, combine the two and provide leave, up to an annual limit, and allow unlimited accumulations. That way, workers can manage their leave in a self-interested way. The agency, in turn, will get a better-motivated employee.
Would this really make for a healthier, more productive work environment? Do feds really need more annual leave, as he suggests? I think most private-sector employees would argue that feds already have more annual leave than most people. Join our forum to tell us what you think.