Friday, April 15, 2005

If UC were to agree to convert sick leave to service time

From Anonymous:

One aspect of the take-over by LMT (Lockheed/Martin-Texas) that we haven't
seen addressed on this blog is how current UC employees' sick leave will be
addressed. Many potential retirees in their early to mid fifties with 20 to 30
years of service have banked considerable sick leave hours. An unscientific poll
of coworkers within our organization (who are considering retirement) shows an
average sick leave balance of1582 hours-at least two have well over 3000

Although it is dangerous to generalize, it is my opinion that a high sick
leave balance is at least a rough indication of a dedicated 'work ethic' and a
high degree of job satisfaction. Granted, there are many dedicated employees
that have to use a lot of their sick leave for family emergencies, medical
appointments, etc., and I truly feel for these people. But we all know employees
with over twenty years of service that take sick leave as soon as they accrue it.

It is assumed (since no other information is forthcoming) that any UC
employee that plans to switch over to LMT will lose all of their accrued sick leave.
Employees having large sick leave balances will then have a decision to make:
do they give up as much as two years of service time by converting to LMT
(sick leave is converted to UC service time upon retirement) or do they go ahead
and retire from UC and increase their factors by as much as 4%? Many of the
people I've talked to say that they'll be FORCED to retire rather than lose this
service time.

If UC were to agree to convert sick leave to service time, whether an
employee retires immediately or decides to 'suspend' their UC retirement, many of the
likely retirees might well decide to stick it out for awhile with LMT
(assuming LMT would HIRE them.) Needless to say, this is highly unlikely. The end
result will be that many truly dedicated employees, with a lot to lose if they
DON'T retire, WILL retire. Ironically, employees that have possibly abused their
sick leave in the past will actually be REWARDED!

LMT has the contract-we have all heard the rumors and its a done deal. LMT,
along with NNSA/DOE, COULD do something to make career LANL employees want to
stay. But that might adversely impact their bottom line, so it 'aint' gonna
happen pardner' (might as well learn how to speak Texan.) And for any of you that
plan to retire then get rehired by LMT--dream on. Why would they hire some
50-something butt-head 'has-been' when they could hire someone just out of
school, for half the salary, and mold them in the company image? Q clearance?
Naw-that's not as big a deal as everyone says it will be-LMT/NNSA will find ways to
circumvent that.

It is high time that the dedicated, loyal LANL employees stop being loyal to
an organization that shows no loyalty in return. Instead, they should be loyal
only to themselves and their families. LANL is dead and NO ONE GIVES A DAMN.

I am in my early fifties and have over half a year of sick leave which I have banked for a "rainy day". I, like the poster, have been curious as to why nothing much has been said about what will happen to employee sick leave. It would be a slap in the face to suddenly have this sick leave wiped out. But, then again, I've sadly come to believe that DOE/NNSA don't care about how they will treat the LANL staff for the re-bid. The top management of DOE may give us honey-coated words that "all will be well", but these words are largely meaningless.
I believe, even at the present time, only one year of sick leave can be converted to service credit toward retirement. And frankly, I doubt that it will be converted to sick leave at the new company.
I know people -- even fairly highly placed managers, who became quite ill and their retirement date approached. Coincidentally, those people have had more than a year of sick leave.
By the way, most people I know who use their sick leave as soon as they accumulate it have serious chronic illnesses or have family members with the same.
As others have noted on this Blog, those who will retire to save their benefits, including sick leave conversion, should retire. In many, not all cases, the performance of those near retirement is sub par and they are tied with "Golden Handcuffs" to LANL. For those with needed skills, policy allows for their retention during a transition period. The LANL staff, on the whole is too old, and retirements would help this picture.
I have too many memories of old men sitting around telling war stories, and calling useless meetings (without an agenda or minutes). Many of these old men have fancy titles (like Chief of Staff) and friends in high places, so they are hard to deal with. Ask them what their job is, and you will get a lot of mumbo jumbo. We all know some of these folks. I look forward to their departure.
Be careful how you spend your sick leave. After the Cerro Grande fire my allergies got much worse so I began to use sick leave at a greater rate than I had over the previous twenty plus years. It took more than six months to prove to HR that I was still fit for duty.
Everyone with sick leave balances over 200 hours should donate their blood for research. Anyone with over 1000 hours sick leave should be transferred to the NIH research campus for intensive study. Your immune systems are superior to those of normal humans. It must be the radiation. Or...could it be that thoughtless people come to work when they are sick, in the desire to cash in one day? When you get sick, it is considerate and intelligent to stay home and get better. If you come to work sick, you will be unproductive at best, and infective and unsafe at worst.
Thank you for your consideration!
Some of us stay healthy the good old fashioned way: eat less, excersize, drink moderately. Los Alamos is known for having a good share of healthy, athletic people.
The UCRP Summary description (pg 7)
does not mention any cap on the amount of sick leave that can be coverted to service credit upon retirement.
Maybe someone from Sandia could post whether their sick leave carried over when they changed contractors, and whether their sick leave counts towards their pension...
Sandia has the best Sick leave policy I have seen in my 24+ years in gov't work You get 2080 hours from day one. 50% of the hours are paid at full salary and the reminaing at half at 50% of salary.
9:43 - Its the genes, some have good ones and some don't. Thats the way life is.
That's one thing you never hear about when people discuss the vacation disparity between old and new workers. Those of us hired after Dec 1992 get 8 hrs/month, with no increase ever, whereas those hired earlier receive 12 hrs/month or 50% more. That extra 50% makes for an awfully nice bonus come retirement time.
The 4/16/2005 10:40:04 PM poster sure has it right about the fat vacation check that the pre-1992 people get on termination.
Would depend on how much vacation time they had not used, no?
Wow, there's a lot of misinformation on this topic. Here's the scoop:

o - If you were hired before 1992, you get 16 hrs/month vacation.

o - If you were hired after 1992, you do eventually build up to 16 hrs/month.

More official details on Vacation policies and Sick Leave policies.

To the first poster, thanks for bringing this issue up. Losing all your accumulated sick leave is indeed a big deal. I was planning on using it for retirement too.

The final RFP is supposed to have language that requires "substantially equivalent" benefits and rights. How will bidders keep this benefit -- accumulated sick leave converting to service credit upon retirement -- substantially equivalent for the LANL workforce? If a biddder does NOT address this then we need to worry if NNSA will: 1) notice at all, or 2) do anything to enforce this principle. Of course, if bids are kept confidential we might never know how this is addressed at all.
400 days (3200 hours) of sick leave and counting!
...and if the new retirement plan would at least allow for a transition up to a 0.025 multiplier at age 60 while maintaining all current UC longevity credits we would nearly all be happy.

...or else UC should offer a 5+5 by September 30th as a parting shot before Gov. Schwartzenegger can "nationalize" the UCRS surpluses next year.
Wouldn't it be ironic if, by getting out of UCRS, the remaining LANL staff
actually came out ahead as the Govenator began raiding the UCRS surplus
at a future point in time? And what if UC later decided to drop medical
coverage for retirees (it was never a guaranteed benefit) due to the
declining fortunes of the state of California, while the UT system, as
new owners of the LANL contract, continued paying retiree medical benefits
due to the enormously increasing value of their West Texas oil wealth (ie,
the Permian Fund). Contemplating this scenario makes the head spin.
...spin head, spin...
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