How Does Sick Leave Work for Government Employees?

By: Rachel Yonkunas Email
By: Rachel Yonkunas Email

Government employees have a lot of heavy responsibilities. Some risk their health, others risk their lives, and they do not work your normal nine to five. Houston County Personnel Director, Sheri Thompson, said employees work 10-hour shifts.

“Their pay is based on hours not days because of the Sheriff's Department, the jail, and all the various shifts they do,” she explained.

With around-the-clock work, what happens when life hands you sickness?

To break down the numbers:
After one year, city employees receive 96 hours of paid sick leave. County employees get the same after six months. The maximum paid sick leave a city employee has is 720 hours. The maximum for county employees is 960 hours.

When a worker or their loved one suffers a severe illness, sometimes that is not enough time.

City employees sometimes help each other, in those cases, with fundraisers. Dothan Police Department held a benefit barbeque for an officer who exhausted all of his paid sick leave for a personal problem. County employees have, what’s called, “donated time.” A co-worker can give another employee their time off.

“We encourage them to accrue that. So if there is a family or self need, then they have time available to use and they’re not going without a paycheck,” said Thompson.

Employees can receive up to 600 hours—or two months—of donated time. It gives them enough time to take on life’s obstacles and practice the team work DPD’s fundraiser demonstrated.

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