I’ve written previously about the idea of banking sick days, and getting a payout for them later. Now the Ontario government has passed Bill 115, which “freezes their wages, bans strikes for two years and ends their ability to bank sick days” for teachers.
I don’t agree at all with banning strikes, I’m not sure on the wage freeze in that I’d normally be opposed to it but I’m not clear on all the details of why they think it’s needed, but I’m pretty OK with ending the banking of sick days.
I have discussed this with teachers and I know part of the reasoning for banking is because teachers get so few official sick days, so they can basically bank up some equivalent of short term disability. That’s fine, and banking seems reasonable for that purpose. But banking sick days and getting paid out for them later seems ludicrous to me. These are sick days, not vacation days. They are supposed to be used when needed, they’re not an entitlement. How did anyone first have the idea “Hey, I didn’t get sick as much as I’m allowed to this year, that means I get a fat paycheck!”
On another interesting note, I read some discussion about how unions can’t work very effectively in the public sector. The argument being that in the private sector, the company has a huge incentive to settle immediately because their production stops and are losing money. In the public sector, taxes are still coming in, and the government has little incentive to settle. In fact, the longer they wait, the angrier people get at the union. And now, even further, it’s becoming common practice for governments to just legislate an end to the strike. So, it’s always a win-win for the government.
I think there’s some truth to this, but I’m not sure what a solution is. Maybe we should get tax rebates to compensate us for lost services while there’s a public union strike? At least that way the government has a penalty. I’m not sure if public workers still get paid while on strike, but if they don’t, then at least both sides have an incentive to settle early.