Thursday, July 9, 2009

Another Hit to Employees

In the final hours of Delaware's budget making process there were several unpleasant surprises as the failure to raise real revenue had to be made up in real cuts. Of course, state employees including educators remain a favorite target.

One such cut was the change in the Short Term Disability program. The Short Term Disability program insures employees against catastrophic loss due to illness by paying 75% of their salary after the illness extends beyond an elimination period.

The elimination period is the time the employee must account for from their own resources before the disability insurance becomes effective.

The elimination period was moved from 20 days to 60 days in a part of the budget process called, "Grant-In-Aid".

Before this change, an employee had to wait 20 calendar days using sick leave or unpaid leave until covered by STD. Now, the employee must find a way to survive for 60 calendar days. That is a long time for working people. Teachers can only accumulate sick days at a maximum of 10 a year. Younger teachers will simply not have the accumulated time to weather a major illness or pregnancy.

Moreover, the 60 day elimination period is within a contract year; so our 10 month employees could have additional difficulties making it to 61 days if part of the time falls outside the contract period.

This change was a part of Governor Markell's budget proposal; however, the Joint Finance Committee had initially resisted making the cut. Unfortunately, the unsavory practice was included in the final legislation.


  1. When I had my operation last year, I had just enough sick days to get me through the 20 day period and to last until I went back to work. I do not have enough sick days to last 60 days until short term disability kicks in. Another major operation and I don't know what my family will do. I can't imagine that they really thought this through.

  2. I want to know what I/we can start doing about this right now. I am already hearing from members who are pregnant. Tell us what to do.