Letter: Sick-leave benefit is earned

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I’ve been a faithful reader of The Columbian since moving here from North Carolina more than six years ago. I enjoy Editor Lou Brancaccio’s columns, and usually agree with most of his opinions. However, I disagree with the Nov. 26 Cheers & Jeers “jeering” government agencies for allowing departing employees to cash out unused sick leave. I retired from North Carolina state government after 25 years, and I enjoyed good health the first 24 of those years.

In my last year of service I became seriously ill, which led to a liver transplant. If I hadn’t diligently preserved my sick leave, I wouldn’t have been able to extend my service to the required 25 years for retirement. I used my sick days sparingly throughout my career. Fortunately, they became very valuable to me. Keep in mind that I had to earn them. Sick leave is a benefit that must be earned, and in North Carolina, it is taxed when used. In the 1970s when I started, state employees earned less than private-sector employees, so the state provided sick leave as a benefit to entice people to the public sector. So, I do not share the ill will toward this benefit.

Bill Linehan

Vancouver