CHARLESTON, WV – Governor Jim Justice has stepped in to save hard-earned annual leave for hundreds of West Virginia correctional officers and staff who faced losing it through no fault of their own.
State personnel rules cap the amount of annual leave that public employees can carry over from one calendar year to the next. Annual leave in excess of that cap must be used during the year it is earned or it expires.
But vacancies at West Virginia’s prisons, regional jails and juvenile facilities have required staff to work overtime throughout 2017, leaving them unable to take their use-or-lose annual leave. Gov. Justice has issued an executive order allowing these employees to carry all unused annual leave forward into 2018.
“The State recognizes that these employees are subject to unused annual leave expiring at the end of this calendar year, and that they have not been able or permitted to use the annual leave that they have accrued, through no fault of their own,” Gov. Justice wrote in the executive order.
The executive order applies to all correctional officers and employees of the Division of Corrections, Regional Jail Authority and Division of Juvenile Services. At just the Huttonsville Correctional Center, the governor’s action rescues nearly 600 hours of hard-earned leave. Throughout Juvenile Services, the executive order will preserve more than 2,000 hours of annual leave or enough for nearly 52 weeks.
The three agencies are part of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
“The hard working men and women of our correctional agencies have been going above and beyond to protect West Virginians from some of the worst individuals society has to offer,” Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jeff Sandy said. “Due to their dedicated service and long hours at work, many have been unable to take their earned vacation this year. I applaud the Governor for his action. Without question, the Governor respects and cares about these public servants.”