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Sick time payouts spike with early retirement

ST. PAUL — The state of Minnesota allows its workers to store away unused sick days over time, and take them as payouts upon retirement.

Those payouts usually cost the state about $14 million per year.

But the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that this year, Minnesota exceeded its annual sick time payout total by June 30, because thousands of workers took early-retirement incentives as the state tried to balance the budget.

Now, leaders of a joint committee that reviews state employee contracts say they will take an aggressive stance in looking all forms of compensation — including sick-time severance.

The state and unions say the payouts offset wages in the public sector, which they say fall below what employees could earn in the private work force.

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