How should paid sick time be carried over from year-to-year, and how should/could employees access and use it?

by Doug Matthews, almost 2 years ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded. We are now reviewing all participant feedback and preparing our final report back to Council.

Sometimes, earned sick leave might "carry over" from one year to the next. So, if you did not use sick leave, it would be added to the following year's earned leave. Other times, there may be a "use it or lose it" policy where earned sick time expires at the end of the year if unused. Should the Council be considering one of these, or some combination of the two? 

What process makes sense for employees who need to access sick time? Sometimes, an employer may have all employees pay in to a shared "leave bank" that all can draw from. In other cases, the hours are accrued to the individual employee. Also, what protections might need to be in place to ensure that an employee is not denied use of earned sick time? 

Finally, there are varying requirements for how employees must notify their employer. For instance, is there a specific and reasonable advance notice that should be required? Should there be other requirements to ensure that the employer has sufficient coverage to operate their business?

Consultation has concluded

  • Laura R almost 2 years ago
    Paid sick time should be carried over from year to year. Employees should be able to use it when they begin work.
  • sclaytor almost 2 years ago
    I am against a "use it or lose it" policy-- If workers earned their sick days they should be able to keep them until they need them. I am very much against any kind of policy that requires a doctors note for 1-3 days--often times in the case of a cold or a virus, a doctor's visit is an uncessary financial and logistical expense.
  • Susan Pantell almost 2 years ago
    I support carrying over sick leave to the following year. If people get a serious illness or need an operation, etc., they may need a lot of sick days, so there should be a way to "bank" or collect time. But a person could have this happen at any time in their employment, so carrying over from one year to another may not solve the problem. Some companies allow employees to give sick leave to other employees in these circumstances, which I support. There should not be a "use it or lose it" policy, which would encourage people to take sick days when they are not sick. People should not be able to cash in their sick days, like they can for vacation days in some places, because sick days should be for taking time off when you are sick.
  • Wtaylor23 almost 2 years ago
    It should carry over up to a certain amount.
  • Arawin86 almost 2 years ago
    The 56 hours full time employees have accrued will be rolled over each year to the maximum of 480 hours. Employees can use it for surgery, illness, serious injury, bereavement, for self. For immediate family of employee who is ill, employee can use up to 1/2 of their annual accrual or 28 hours annually. Sick time begins on 3rd day if absence due to eligible reason under sick time policy. Medical certification is required after 3 day. If first day of absence is due to surgery, sick time begins on day 1.Coordination of pay is given with income disability benefits. Sick leave pay and disability benefits will not be greater than regular pay.
  • TanDao almost 2 years ago
    No carry over
  • Sarah almost 2 years ago
    I don’t think there should be a cap. They should all carry over.
  • Nolan almost 2 years ago
    If it is implemented (which I oppose) there should be a cap for accumulation. Let's cap it at 60 hours or higher.
  • Ashkan almost 2 years ago
    Hours should not expire and the use of earned paid sick leave hours should not be terribly restricted. To do so would be a message to all affected workers that they are too irresponsible to conduct themselves appropriately when afforded this protection. There is no reason to believe this is the case.
  • lillian_m almost 2 years ago
    Unused paid sick days/hours should be carried over to the next year
  • Tyson_512 almost 2 years ago
    It's also important to roll over because the time at the end of December and beginning of January is a cold, rainy season when lots of people get sick. Graduating in fall, getting a job, earning a few days of sick leave but being unable to use them because it's January 1st would be absurd.
  • Tyson_512 almost 2 years ago
    Paid sick leave should absolutely roll over, you can't plan for sickness and if you don't need to use a sick day you shouldn't be forced to use it.
  • Melanieavant almost 2 years ago
    Acrrued unused PTO should roll over. Use it or lose it encourages using it when it is not needed. Could incentivize not using it in some way at employer discretion.
  • Renee787 almost 2 years ago
    Sick leave should never be carried over or paid from year to year. It is only to be used during the time that an employee is actually sick.
  • strugglingsmallbizowner almost 2 years ago
    This policy SHOULD NOT be created. With each question answered it is becoming clear that the City has no place in regulating and enforcing something like this. There is no way an employer should be forced to carry over mandated sick leave.
  • bdm2701 almost 2 years ago
    There should not be any. None, we libertarians do not want government dictated mandatory sick leave.
  • TurboSpencer almost 2 years ago
    The coverage should be left up to the private employer as they see fit. The private employers are the best qualified to determine the impact to their business and what they can or cannot afford. If they are losing people because of their policies they will change their policies appropriately.
  • Art Klempner almost 2 years ago
    Your sick days are good for 1 calendar year. No accumulation . You don’t extra days for being healthy!
  • gift almost 2 years ago
    Give it up---how disappointing that this concept even is being pursued by the city.
  • mkcl almost 2 years ago
    The City has no business dictating policies of private companies. Quit wasting our time and taxpayer dollars on these stupid surveys. Get some real work done!
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments, mkcl. -Moderator
    • cstrombe almost 2 years ago
      Agree completely. This is a perfect example of why it's so expensive to live in Austin. I can't imagine what business owners must deal with. My plumber told me Friday they are considering ending service to Austin addresses due to the permitting headaches Austin imposes on them.
  • cstrombe almost 2 years ago
    This should be determined by the employer. The city should not be involved in dictating private employer policies.
  • mattwgore almost 2 years ago
    This is a complicated decision without easy, one-size-fits-all answers. I think it would be a mistake for this decision to be clumsily made at the city level. Austin is a cutting edge economy; let's not make clumsy, city-wide laws that don't honor the diverse needs of employees and employers.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment, mattwgore; do you have recommendations for an alternative approach? -Moderator
      Hide reply (1)
      • cstrombe almost 2 years ago
        One alternative is for the city to stay out of it altogether.
  • Ali Shu almost 2 years ago
    Carry over, never expiring, treated as an earned benefit, with the employee being able to cash it out or donate to another employee.
  • KMTBERRY almost 2 years ago
    Carried over year to year
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment, KMTBERRY. -Moderator
  • Bo Delp almost 2 years ago
    Employees should be allowed to carry over paid sick days they are entitled -- "use it or lose it" is not an ideal policy.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment, Bo. -Moderator
  • Julia K almost 2 years ago
    Sick time should carry over. You should not be punished for not getting sick since you earned it.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment, Julia. -Moderator
  • Wendykalthoff almost 2 years ago
    I think it should be carried over year to year.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment, Wendy. -Moderator
  • Feedback2017 almost 2 years ago
    Should not be carried over
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment, Feedback2017; to clarify, would unused paid sick leave expire at a certain point, and if so, when? -Moderator
  • onefl almost 2 years ago
    Sick time is earned, so it should carry over year to year.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments, onefl. -Moderator
  • sbz almost 2 years ago
    Sick leave should carry over to the next year, rather than expiring.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments, sbz. -Moderator
  • kyleafh almost 2 years ago
    There should not be any mandate requiring a private company to provide any sort of incentive. When the government uses force to demand action it oversteps its boundaries. This is a case of totalitarianism that I will not stand for.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment, kyleafh. -Moderator
  • JasonLockhart almost 2 years ago
    It should happen in whatever manner the employer chooses. If the employees don’t like the policy, they can work elsewhere.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment, JasonLockhart. -Moderator
  • ayork almost 2 years ago
    No more than 40 hours of sick time may carry forward from year to year.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Jess.M almost 2 years ago
      What!?
      Hide reply (1)
      • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
        Hi, Jess.M.--I'm assuming you disagree, but could you share what you would support instead? -Moderator
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments, ayork. -Moderator
  • Vivian Martin almost 2 years ago
    Should be allowed to accumulate and roll over to the next year. Hours should accrue to the individual. Advance notice should be given when possible. Employee should be allowed to use time as long as the employee has time on the books. Time is lost when the employee’s employment is terminated or when the employee resign or retire.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Jess.M almost 2 years ago
      So sick time ad infinitum?! omg. Advance notice!!! The whole point is that sick time is supposed to be unpredictable... You're not suggesting sick time.. you're suggesting government mandated vacation.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
        Thanks for your comments, Jess M. -Moderator
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments, Vivian. -Moderator
  • Jess.M almost 2 years ago
    Let's be clear here. This is a government mandated vacation policy. Not a sick policy and it will be abused as such. The only legitimate confirmation of illness would be for employers to require a doctors note. Research how much of our already overburdened healthcare system is filled with appointments for patients who need a doctors note... Not only is it totally unnecessary but it contributes to public health crisis such as flu pandemics. This is insane. Horrible policy making. Many repercussions.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments, Jess.M. -Moderator
  • mturpin almost 2 years ago
    All PTO decisions should be made by employers not the city. Employers know better when they need to pay employees PTO to compete for talent. The city should not mandate that any employer be compelled to offer any benefit.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments, mturpin. -Moderator
  • Gary Stroud about 2 years ago
    They should be allowed to carry over half the time they earn, up to a maximum of 1.5 times the potential. WHen they get to that level they use out of their pot until they earn more.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your detailed comments, Gary; can you clarify? If, for instance, someone earns 25 hours of paid sick time in a year, they would carry over 12.5 hours? Maximum of 1.5x the number of hours to which they are entitled? -Moderator
  • Beverly Gavenda about 2 years ago
    It should be allowed to carry over and add up until a set maximum level.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments, Beverly. -Moderator
  • Jennifer Stevens about 2 years ago
    Austin is a city full of start ups and entrepreneurs who are doing their best to build businesses and create jobs. Businesses cant afford to carry benefits forward year to year without cutting costs elsewhere - this proposal WILL COST JOBS
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
    • Larry Schooler almost 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comments, Jennifer. -Moderator