Governor Abercrombie’s new agreement with the HGEA will give state employees up to 64 days a year of time off with pay, House Representatives Barbara Marumoto, Cynthia Thielen and Gene Ward announced. That is equal to almost three months absent from work.
State government workers currently get 13 paid holidays, 21 days of paid vacation and 21 days of sick leave each year. And in 2012 they will get 14 days vacation—since government workers don’t have to work on election day.
“On top of these 55 paid days off a year, Gov. Abercrombie has given HGEA workers 9 more days of paid administrative leave,” Rep Gene Ward of Hawaii Kai pointed out. “This equals 64 days, or almost three months a year.”
“The agreement automatically entitles HGEA members to higher pay rates negotiated by other unions, leaving us in the dark on the actual cost of this deal,” Rep. Cynthia Thielen of Kaneohe Bay and Kailua stated. “It is bad policy and with many Hawaii residents working two jobs to make ends meet, we can hardly afford to pay for government workers to stay home.”
While not all employees use all of their sick leave and vacation leave each year, this leave time can be accumulated and is paid out when the employee exits from government or becomes part of their retirement calculations. Giving HGEA 9 more paid days off means state workers will accumulate more vacation and sick time that adds to the State’s financial liabilities.
Labor costs make up almost 70% of our State budget. “Paying people to stay home is wrong, especially when some of our offices are short-handed and the public is experiencing delays and backlogs,” Rep. Barbara Marumoto of Kaimuki, Kahala and Waialae noted. “Taxpayers will receive less service and pay for the nine days of extra vacation.”