Dare to Compare: Vacation Time Payouts

Chicago City Council proposes reduction of vacation time payouts:

As it now stands, departing longtime employees can get paid for up to 75 vacation days they did not take while working for the city. Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan, the number would decrease to 30 at the start of 2013.
The changes are in part a response to the recent vacation cash-outs taken by departing officials from former Mayor Richard Daley’s administration.

For example, former Police Superintendent Jody Weis got more than $76,000 for 64 unused vacation days. Through the end of last month, the city paid out $9.5 million in unused vacation pay, according to the Emanuel administration.

How do City of DeKalb vacation payouts compare with Chicago’s? Actually, quite favorably — at least on paper.

Keep in mind: Although I’ll be sharing information from all City of DeKalb agreements, the vacation payouts referred to in the Chicago article include only the non-union employees.

First, let’s look at the amount of vacation time DeKalb employees earn. The following comes from the AFSCME agreement.

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Police, Fire and Chapter 3 (management) employees earn similar amounts, except management employees get vacation earnings bumped up faster (e.g., 15 days in Year 3) and there are differences based on shift hours (first year FD on 24-hour shifts earn 6 shifts of vaycay, for example).

Maximum accumulations, carryover of vacation time, payments in lieu of vacation and termination payouts can vary significantly, though, and there’s a fair amount of discretion granted to department heads (hence the looks-good-on-paper qualification).

IAFF contract: Requests for payments in lieu of vacation can be made for time earned in excess of five shifts for 24-hour shift employees and 10 shifts for 7.5-hour shift employees. There is no language in the contract allowing carryover of vacation time into the following year.

FOP Contract: Requests can be made for payment in lieu of vacation for time earned in excess of two weeks’ worth. Carryover of vacation time is only allowed if the employer cancels it and it can’t be rescheduled in time to avoid carryover.

AFSCME Contract: Accumulation/carryover is allowed up to 30 days, except telecommunicators have no carryover. Payment in lieu of vacation or additional carryover can be considered only under “very extenuating” or work-related circumstances.

Chapter 3 Employees (management): Max accumulation/carryover is limited to 32 days, although additional carryover or payment in lieu of vacation can be granted by the city manager for accumulations over 32 days.

I was able to bring this to you today because I’ve been studying the labor contracts and Chapter 3 to determine how the city’s leave policies affect our financial health, and because new contracts are under negotiation. The info lies right at my fingertips! Be on the lookout for a similar post about sick leave, and a report from the trail of the legendary Comp Time Monster.