Bill 115 will reduce teacher sick days from 20 to 10.
When I told my wife about this fact, she responded: "well nobody should get that amount of sick days anyway."
Then I told her an interesting fact. Because the government does not consider the summer months, March Break, or Christmas holidays as actual "teacher vacation time," teachers, unlike the majority of Ontario workers, do not qualify for the mandatory 4% "vacation pay" established by the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
In fact, in a prior collective agreement, when the summer months were actually legally considered to be a "vacation" for teachers, the government and teachers, working in a partnership, proposed a cost-saving, incentive strategy.
** Please note: In order to be fair, it has been brought to my attention that there are differing views on if these negotiations ever took place and/or if it was teachers who suggested the change. Older members of the Union say it took place, newer members are unsure. **
Thus, these so called "sick days" should really be called "vacation pay days" since teachers do not get vacation pay.
No, the general public does not get the opportunity to miss 20 days a year for being "sick." But they do get 4% vacation pay.
Teachers get "sick day" pay instead. Different term, same result.
For those who started teaching in the year 2000, the retirement gratuity would be for 1/2 of a days pay for any accumulated days OVER 200.
Lets look at why the mathematics make sense for the government:
1. $74,000 (average teacher salary) x 4% vacation pay = $2960 x 30 years = 88,800
2. (30 years x 20 sick days - 200) x 1/2 days salary ($200) = $80,000
Thus, the government saves $8000 per teacher by awarding sick days instead of vacation pay.
In this system, there was an incentive to SAVE sick days for teachers. While I don't have the exact numbers, I know that at my school, no teacher has ever used up the full 20 days during the course of the year. I have never used up more than 7. Our staff average is 8.
So rounding up for the sake of argument to 11 sick days per year being used, the actual retirement gratuity would be:
(30 years x 9 sick days - 200 days) x 1/2 days pay ($200) = $14,000 gratuity. Adding in the cost of a supply teacher (11 days x 30 years x $240) = $79,200.
Thus the actual cost of the "20 banked sick days" is around $79,200 + $14,000 = $93,200
Now lets take a look at the mathematics of the new system.
1. 10 sick days that cannot be banked (teachers will therefore use them all up) x 30 years x a full days supply pay ($240) = $72,000
Don't forget to add in the vacation pay of $88,800 for a 30 year career.
This equals a new cost of $160,800 for a 30 year teacher.
Of course, some of you will say that teachers shouldn't get vacation pay. But why is that? The only reason we don't get vacation pay is because we negotiated for the retirement gratuity so that the government could save $8000 per teacher.
But Bill 115 has removed our ability to negotiate AND nullified our prior bargaining agreements.
If our prior agreements are nullified, then as Ontario employees, we are entitled to our 4% vacation pay.
Unless of course teachers are somehow different?
And why would we be?
Perhaps it is because we are overpaid?