Friday, February 25, 2011

TDCJ stops the use of madatory overtime based on sick leave

By Tonya Peters, Backgate Website

As previously reported by the Backgate just last week, TDCJ had started the practice of mandating employee overtime based on whether or not an employee called in sick that week or not. And in some cases, took an approved day off. Just two days ago, Huntsville administrators decided against allowing units to continue the practice. The TDCJ written overtime policy never contained or approved the practice, and due to employee complaints and media attention, it was corrected.

Now called in to question are the many employee disciplinary actions that occurred after employees refused to work the mandated overtime after calling in sick. TDCJ made the right call on this one. It was sure to end up costing the state millions in lawsuits that they surely don't have in this time of budget shortfalls. There is a better way to regulate sick time abuse, but its not or never will be justified or legal to retaliate against employees for using accrued sick time afforded to them under policy. Much less accrued holiday or comp time. Now get on the ball and create a real sick abuse policy !


  1. When I first started working in Corrections a little over 20 years ago I loved coming to work. I looked forward to it. Wouldn't miss unless I was very ill. This was true for nearly everyone I worked for and with. Sick leave use and abuse was nearly non-existent.

    Then the attitudes of management began to change. Administrative staff began to cater to inmates and take the position that inmate complaints were legitimate no matter how ridiculous or what policy and law said. They began to require supervisors to justify every action taken by the officers under them. Captains, lieutenants and sergeants began to burn out. Then the officers began to have to justify their every act to administrators and to the inmates themselves.

    It wasn't long before people had to drag themselves to work. They began to show up just for a paycheck. The beauty of sick leave was that they could get the paycheck without having to show up as much to the un-winnable and incomprehensible situation at the prison. People who had planned on working for the prison system until they were too old to work anymore began to retire as quickly as they were able.

    As staff retreated from the daily running of the prison the inmates took over more and more of the functions. Pretty soon inmates had to pay other inmates for services the prison was obligated to perform, such as getting the plumbing shop to fix a cell toilet or replace a blown seal in a cellblock water fountain.

    Administrators turned a blind eye to all of this. They devised new "climate surveys" and manipulated the statistics to show that everything was fine. And staff burned sick leave as fast as they earned it.

    If TDCJ administrators want to know why staff abuse sick leave. They need to take a look in the mirror. Motivating staff to come to work starts with motivating staff to take pride in their work. It comes from motivating staff... Being leaders. Giving staff important responsibilities and supporting them when they are right, and correcting them when they are wrong.

    It ain't rocket science. All it takes is a little commitment and integrity.

  2. I could not have said it better myself!!! When I started working at TDC I too loved my job,had mucho sick time because I would come no matter what.It was the same with most everyone I worked with, we all liked and respected each other.I thought I would be at TDC until I got to old to handle it,now I can't wait to retire.I pray they don't pull some kind of funny business with our pensions.I miss the old TDC and the folks I worked with,who are no longer there.The inmates do what they want and writing them up is a joke.Inmates say all the time "what you gonna do, write me up?" I hate to think what's coming.Before long TDC will be trying to run prison's with just camera's and S.O.R.T. teams.I'm still hoping and praying for TDC,maybe the administrators will somehow find out what it's really like to work in Texas prison's and go backward on some things.

  3. I have worked for tdcj a little less than ten years and have seen lots of changes myself. I think it is sad how much respect has been lost between coworkers. Seems like there is little recognition on how long an officer has been there by some of the rank and many of the younger COs. There ate officers that come to work and work harder at catching out than doing their jobs. Therefore leaving others that actually come to work to do double the work while others just come to do little and get a check. If anything is said to rank about it then you have to worry about being retaliated because they are buddys with the catchouts. How fair is that? The system is so messed up and twisted.

  4. I agree to all of the above posts, am hanging on for the next 10 months and I'm done. will have my 20 in and as said above hope what benefits we have are not taken.

  5. I understand that we earn sick time just like any other benefit, how can you use something that is earned and possessed by you???? How can you say someone is abusing sick time when they earned it. The state just don't give it to you or you borrow it from the state, you earn it as part of your benefits package. These so called "patterns" they are talking about with PERS 604, a person can really be sick under those circumstances. Just because it inconvenience the unit when they are short, the state uses this cowardly way to control their flawed staffing plan. If I have the time to say I am sick, then I am sick, it's like the state is calling it's employees LIARS. When I joined the state they said a few of these were guaranteed as part of your benefits package; 8 hours sick time, free uniforms, meals while on duty, and your monthly salary. I never seen anyone get written up for eating to much on duty, having to many uniforms or being broke by the 8th of the month; but if you need to use your sick time and it fits within TDCJ so called "pattern" then you face disciplinary action. The legislature need to do something about this, people are getting in trouble because TDCJ don't believe their employees who are in charge of watching deadly criminals. Please support this thread and make a difference.