The Value of Your Leave

Daniel Coyne

Over the last couple of months, we have received calls from supervisors asking us what the union does to teach new officers about saving time. The supervisors go on to complain about how these officers use every hour of sick and vacation time they have and that it frustrates them. My response to the supervisor is the officers are probably calling in sick and going on vacation nonstop because they have a bad boss. 

I’ll then call the officer and, sure enough, nine times out of 10, they tell me they have a chain of command that doesn’t support them and makes working miserable. Since we have a lot of supervisors reading our articles, this message is for you. If you have officers who are blowing through all their time, first ask and make sure everything is OK with them. If it is, then ask yourself how you can bring up the morale and make the workplace better for the people under you.

Now that I have addressed that, here are some basics on time balances and cashouts.  All of us should look at our time banks as another form of retirement savings. Our goal should be to max out each bank by the time we retire, and if we do, you’re going to have a cash-out check in the six figures.  

Let’s start with vacation time. For officers with one to 10 years on, you can accumulate and roll over 320 hours of vacation time. Officers with 10–15 years on can accumulate and roll over 360 hours of vacation. Officers with 15 years of service or more can accumulate and roll over 400 hours of vacation. Now, when you retire, the Department must pay you for the hours in your bank at 100% of your current rate of pay.

Now, as far as sick leave is concerned, you can accumulate and roll over as many hours as you are capable of earning — there’s no cap on this. However, the Department will only cash you out for 1,250 of those hours. Now, here’s the catch when it comes to sick leave. The Department won’t cash you out at a 100% value unless you have 30 years of service. Below are the cash-out percentages for officers based on years of service.

  • 0–9 years of service: 0%
  • 10–14 years of service: 50%
  • 15–19 years of service: 62.5%
  • 20–24 years of service: 75%
  • 25–29 years of service: 87.5% 
  • 30 or more years of service: 100%

The Department will also have to cash you out for your bonus time when you retire. Right now, you can accumulate and roll over up to 240 hours of bonus time, and they will pay you out at 100% of your rate of pay for your hours. 

As you can see, these time banks can be very lucrative come cash-out time if you are able save your hours.