Department of Water and Power’s unlimited sick pay policy costs millions – latimes.com
By Jack Dolan
Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power has paid thousands of employees a total of $35.5 million since 2010 in extra sick days under an unusual program that the utility’s top executive acknowledges has been vulnerable to abuse. DWP employees benefit from a 32-year-old policy that allows them to take paid days off well beyond the agency’s 10-day-a-year cap on sick days. Last year, 10% of the department’s roughly 10,000 employees took at least 10 extra days off, the data show. More than 220 took an extra 20 working days off, or about a month, according to a Times examination of data obtained under the California Public Records Act.
In fact, records and interviews show, there is no limit to the paid time off DWP employees can take when they say they’re sick, and requirements to provide medical proof of their illness have been loosely enforced… DWP officials, noting that they were not around when the sick pay policy was adopted in 1981, said they could not find a written rationale for the unlimited extra days. Since 2010, workers have taken 103,802 extra sick days, the equivalent of 415 years.