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Appeals court rejects paid sabbatical days for most state workers


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - An appeals court says most state government employees are not entitled to paid sabbatical days to offset the 16 unpaid furlough days they were forced to take for two years.

Former Governor Jim Doyle ordered all state workers to get docked for the furlough days, to help reduce a $6.6 billion deficit in the state budget from mid-2009 through mid-2011.

But assistant prosecutors argued that the contract called only 10 days on layoff – and that’s all they took.

Marty Beil of the State Employees Union then said other workers should be treated the same. He filed a request with the state Office of Employment Relations to get back the six paid days in the form of sabbaticals – but he was rejected.

The union then filed a lawsuit – and a Dane County judge turned down a later request by the state to drop it.

The state then filed an appeal, saying it had sovereign immunity in the matter. That meant a court could not stop Doyle’s action unless the Legislature allowed it – which it didn’t.

Thursday, the Fourth District Appellate Court in Madison said the sovereign immunity applies, and so did the 16 furlough days for most workers.