A new policy on sick leave has taken affect for Associated Press employees, bumping up the leave for new employees but reducing the amount available to long-term workers, according to the November issue of WiReport.
AP staffers used to get two weeks of sick leave during the first two years of service; that number is being upped to 12 days per year.
Short-term disability benefits are being reduced, though: Under the old policy, an employee would receive a week of full pay plus one week of half pay for each year of service, so an employee with 35 years of service could be sick for 35 weeks before seeing his/her pay reduced, then be out another 35 weeks and still pull at least part of a paycheck.
The new policy removes the half pay weeks and caps the full weeks at 25 for employees with less than 20 years of service as of Dec. 1, 2008; employees with more than 20 years of service by that date see no cap.
Just another cost-cutting move; however, the Guild’s bargaining chair last year, Martha Waggoner, said that “a review of other sick leave plans among members of The Newspaper Guild showed the new plan at the AP…was as good or better than others in TNG.” But it’s never easy to see benefits taken away.