Emergency state employee leave carryover measure passes committee

Mike Seals - February 4, 2021 11:12 pm

Frank Simpson

Senator Frank Simpson

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill to protect the leave of state employees following an emergency declaration was approved by the General Government Committee Thursday.  Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer, is the author of Senate Bill 282, and said the change is necessary in order to not punish full time state employees required to work overtime and unable to take off during state emergencies.

“Government never shuts down regardless of whether there is an emergency declaration or not. Though many state agencies utilized teleworking, many of our nearly 33,000 hardworking state employees worked much longer hours throughout the pandemic and couldn’t use their annual leave,” Simpson said. “Many long-time employees are quickly approaching or surpassed their allowed annual leave limit last year and lost it at the end of the year. This is unfair to these individuals who have dedicated their lives in service to our state government. This bill would ensure state employees aren’t punished for their dedication but allowed to accrue more annual leave and roll any extra leave over for an additional year—this way they can enjoy their hard-earned vacation time.”

Under current law, state employees can accrue a set amount of annual leave based on their years of service. Once the cap is surpassed, the employee has until December 31 to use any excess annual leave or it is lost. For state employees with less than five years of service, the limit is 240 hours. Those with five or more years of service can accrue up to 480 hours.

The bill will now go before the Senate Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

 

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