September 4, 2018
September 4, 2018
Here is what VSEA sent to members on Friday:
VSEA learned today that the Vermont Supreme Court has confirmed that the State has been violating contractural language when it caps sick leave at 6 weeks a year for VSEA members who have serious illnesses or injuries. The Court affirmed the decision of the VLRB that the state has misinterpreted the so-called “cascade” provisions of the Parental and Family Leave Article of the three Executive Branch contracts.
The Court and the Board both found that the State and VSEA negotiated the current Parental and Family Leave Article in 1999 with the explicit intention to protect sick leave and other benefits found elsewhere in the contract. The State honored that agreement for almost 15 years and then began to apply the so-called cascade to cap the use of sick leave at 6 weeks.
While this decision only directly affects the individual grievant, VSEA has filed class-action grievances to force the State to comply with the decision for dozens if not hundreds of other state workers who have been forced to use annual or other leave to cover illnesses over the past several years. VSEA expects the State to apply the decision to those pending cases, but will continue to litigate if the state continues to violate the contract.
"State employees recovering from a stroke or cancer are sick…they’re not on vacation, as the Scott Administration believes," says VSEA President Dave Bellini. "Hopefully, this mean-spirited practice will now finally end."
NOTABLE PASSAGE FROM THE RULING: “The state’s position moreover has the strange result that the right of the employee to use their sick leave credits is more restricted when they are suffering from a serious illness, when they may need to use their sick leave the most, than a minor one.”
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