Encourage taking time off work

MnSCU should encourage employees to take sick and vacation days.

Last week, a Minnesota legislative subcommittee headed by Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, scrutinized officials and employees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities for receiving retirement payouts of unused sick and vacation days accrued over a number of years.

While ParryâÄôs complaints revolved around a misleading comparison to the private sector and hinted toward legislative intervention, the subcommittee brings to light a real issue.

The University of Minnesota, unlike MnSCU, doesnâÄôt pay out sick time and pushes for staff to use their days in an attempt to âÄúmaintain healthy employees.âÄù Vacation is a time to recover and recuperate from work stress. MnSCU should not have a policy that encourages employees to choose money over the health benefits of taking time off.

Laura King, MnSCU vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer, defended the payouts to the committee by saying they are necessary, since MnSCU is âÄúlosing talent to states that offer more competitive compensation packages.âÄù

MnSCU could take the money it expects to pay out in unused sick time and incorporate that into employee salaries while reforming its policies so that employees arenâÄôt discouraged from taking sick and vacation time when they need to. MnSCU should not provide their employees incentives to come into the office when they should be at home, subsequently straining AmericaâÄôs work culture and health care system further.

As evidenced by our health care situation, Americans are clearly already choosing unhealthy lifestyles âÄî MnSCU doesnâÄôt need to make the problem even worse.