By Rich Figel
Wow. When I first saw this on the news, I thought it had to be a typo. Do Hawaiian Tel workers really get 26 WEEKS fully paid sick leave each year? But even 26 days seemed like a lot to me. I can't recall ever working for a company that provided more than a week or two at most for illness or personal days.
Yet here is what the official statement from Hawaiian Tel says: Employees currently may take up to 26 weeks fully paid sick leave each year. The company's offer provides up to 8 weeks fully-paid sick leave annually, with an additional up to 18 weeks of temporary disability paid at 58% or base wages, plus adds company-paid long-term disability and long-term care insurance.
Am I nuts or does even eight weeks sound extremely generous? My wife used to run her own small company, which offered good benefits. But if she had to pay for up to 26 weeks paid sick leave, her business would have been devastated if one or two employees took advantage of that policy.
Am I missing something here? Can any Hawaiian Tel employee explain why they need 26 paid weeks of sick time? In other words, they could miss half a year of work, still collect a regular paycheck, and the company can't replace them. That seems insane to me... and one reason unions have been getting a bad rap of late.
I have been a long-time supporter of unions, but the existing Hawaiian Tel policy makes if far too tempting for workers to abuse it at company expense... which ultimately gets passed on to consumers, who then stop doing biz with that company, resulting in layoffs when losses mount due to having to pay workers who aren't showing up for long periods of time.
Anyone out there have similar sick leave policies where you work? Sheesh, I remember one company that used to give us one whole extra personal day off, paid, if we went the entire year without calling in sick or showing up late. But it was more of a pride thing to accomplish that goal. I guess we were naive or chumps to think you only called in if you were really, really ill.
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