Is this the fault of the workers? Certainly not! This is a failure in government. The provision guaranteeing sick time to public employees is in the civil service law. The provision is very inflexible in what employees are entitled to because of the same reason civil service itself was created: Favoritism and political patronage. Thus, public employees receive 15 days a year and can accumulate them. That allows the employees to have a safety net in case of a long illness. Without the law, politically connected employees could get better terms when sick than most others. The law does not say anything about redeeming unused days at retirement. That becomes a negotiable issue.
I intend to seek reform of the civil service law. Sick time is only one aspect of it. Instead of sick days, employees would be entitled to a number of incidents – say 5 – per year but then there would be no restriction of the number of days in an incident, as long as it is medically documented, until short term disability kicks in. Obviously, incidents would not be cumulative.