Staff seeks sick pay

Shawntaye Hopkins

A proposed change in retirement benefits could mean more cash for some staff members.

Administrative staff members with a retirement plan through the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System could be compensated for unused sick leave after they retire if a policy change is approved by the university’s administrative council.

“Several people are starting to fan the flames a little bit,” said Richard Greer, director of the Counseling and Testing Center.

Human Resources director Tony Glisson said his office is drafting a proposal to be submitted to the administrative council.

KTRS approved a policy change in July that would allow such a change to take place, but the university also has to approve it.

The university didn’t immediately make the change because it was thought that faculty and staff using KTRS would have to equally benefit from a change, Glisson said.

But faculty members don’t count days worked and would not have been affected by a change, he said.

Staff Council Chair Elizabeth Paris said the change will cost the university about $100,000 each year.

Of about 350 administrative staff members, 271 use KTRS, Paris said. The rest have chosen other retirement plans.

Staff using KTRS have not enjoyed the same benefit of applying sick leave to retirement as support staff with retirement plans through the Kentucky Employment Retirement System.

“It doesn’t seem quite fair that one group can and one group can’t,” Paris said.

Twelve employees from various campus departments and colleges met 11 years ago to discuss retirement plan equality, said Greer, who was in that group. Their plan was turned down.

Bill Leach, member services director for KTRS, said approval from KTRS is fairly routine.

He said employers have the option of adopting a sick leave credit policy, and Western bears the cost of increased annuity values.

He said Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University are the only institutions that have chosen to adopt the policy for administrative staff.

Leach said the policy could help increase staff retention and recruitment.

KTRS neither promotes nor discourages employers to adopt the policy, he said.

Greer said the university is working through some issues on how the system can be set up.

Now instead of being concerned about whether or not the plan will be implemented, Greer is mainly concerned about how long the change will take.

“I don’t know about soon,” he said. “But I think it will happen.”

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]