In the cities of North Las Vegas and Henderson, paid time off is generous for the approximately 4,500 employees, leading the average employee to have between 100 and 125 unused days.
That’s compared to the average City of Las Vegas employee having 79 unused days off.
The City of Las Vegas payroll records provided to Open The Books via a Nevada Open Records Act request show that the city paid $6.2 million in buybacks to employees who didn’t use their time off in 2021.
The City of North Las Vegas, however, only pays for unused sick and vacation days when an employee leaves their job.
The City of Henderson only allows employees to be paid for between 4 and 12 unused days per year, while the vast majority can only be cashed in when they leave their job. Henderson hasn’t provided its payroll records, so we don’t know how much was paid out in buy backs.
But compared to the City of Las Vegas, it won’t be much — about one-third of Las Vegas employees had buy back income in 2021, with the average amount being $5,003. Like in North Las Vegas and Henderson, firefighters in Las Vegas have the most unused sick and vacation days accumulated.
City of Henderson
The average employee among the City of Henderson’s 3,200 people has about 100 unused paid days off saved, with firefighters banking two and three times that much.
Forty percent of Henderson workers have worked there long enough to have accrued separate unused sick hours and vacation hours before the city implemented combined sick and vacation “paid time off.”
Those employees hired before July 1, 2014 — and still employed — have a much better deal for unused days. They were able to accrue and can still be paid for sick leave up to 22.5 weeks when they leave their job. Those hired before 1995 had no limit on how much sick time they could accumulate and can be paid for 100 percent of unused time when they leave their job.
That adds up to a lot for some.
Fire Battalion Chief Douglas A. Koopman has been employed by the city since 1989 and has the equivalent of 550 8-hour equivalent sick days saved, the most time saved by one employee.
That’s almost 8 times as much as the average employee hired before July 1, 2014, with 69 accrued unused 8-hour equivalent sick days, according to the City of Henderson’s PTO accrual records provided to OpenTheBooks.com via a Nevada Public Records Act request.
Firefighters work longer shifts than 8 hours but we’re using the standard 8-hour day to compare across all city employees.
Koopman also has the equivalent of 261 8-hour vacation days, while the average employee hired before July 1, 2014, has 34 8-hour equivalent vacation days — again almost 8 times more.
In fact, fire department employees are among those with the most accrued time off. Many have hundreds of accrued unused 8-hour equivalent sick days and many have double the 34 vacation days — or more — than the average employee has saved.
Nowadays, Henderson gives its employees a combined paid time off for both vacation and sick days.
Employees get 18 PTO days in their first year, 22 days for employment years 2-5, 26 days for employment years 6-12, and 30 days for 13 years and longer.
Employees can accumulate up to 26 weeks of unused PTO. Those who leave their job can be paid for between 6.25 weeks and 12.5 weeks of unused PTO, depending on when they were hired. Employees still working can be paid for between 4 and 12 unused PTO days every year. The city clerk can be paid for up to 20 unused days annually.
The average employee has 79 8-hour PTO days unused.
Employees also get “banked hours” for when a holiday falls on a day an employee is not usually scheduled to work and the employee is not required to work. The average employee has 9 banked days.
City of North Las Vegas
The average employee among the City of North Las Vegas’s 1,300 people has 125 unused paid days off saved, with firefighters banking two and three times that much.
Employees get between three and five weeks of annual leave, or vacation days, depending on how long they’ve worked. They can accrue between 46 and 67 unused 8-hour equivalent days, according to the City of North Las Vegas’ PTO accrual records provided to OpenTheBooks.com via a Nevada Public Records Act request. Unused time can be paid for when the employee leaves their job.
Employees also receive 13 sick days. Those hired before July 1, 2014, can be paid for up to 169 unused 8-hour equivalent sick days when they leave their job. Depending on how long they worked for the city, they can be paid for between 50% and 100% of the unused days.
Those hired after July 1, 2014, get paid for far fewer unused days than their more veteran coworkers, while still generous. They can be compensated for up to 63 unused 8-hour equivalent sick days when they leave their job. Depending on how long they worked for the city, they can be paid for between 25% and 50% of the unused days.
The average employee has 27 unused vacation days and 66 unused sick days, records show.
Firefighter David Warf, chairman of the North Las Vegas Fire Fighters Union Health and Welfare Trust, has the most unused vacation days — 107 unused 8-hour equivalent days. He’s followed by six other firefighters, all accrued between 89 and 98 unused 8-hour equivalent vacation days.
Firefighters also make up the top 20 employees with the most sick leave accrued – between 299 and 369 unused 8-hour equivalent days.
City employees also have a lot of unused holiday pay — the average person has 32 unused 8-hour equivalent days. Once again, firefighters make up the top, with as much as 174 unused 8-hour equivalent holidays.
Clark County schools
The schools wouldn’t provide records that show how much PTO employees have saved – it only provided its policies that govern paid time off.
“The District does not capture this data for the entire population,” their rejection letter stated. “There are no public records responsive to this portion of your request.”
Administrators, teachers and support staff get 15 sick days, and unused sick days can accumulate with no limit. Teachers and support employees can cash in unused sick days for pay when they retire, and administrators can get paid for their unused sick days by having their pay for those days deposited into a “health reimbursement account.”
Administrators receive 24 vacation days annually, and can accumulate up to 85 unused days. They can cash in unused vacation at their normal daily salary rate when they retire.
Teachers don’t get paid vacation days during the months that school is in session but can receive between one and five personal days each year.
Support employees get 10 vacation days for first year of work, then 15 days after that. They get 21 days after 10 years and all can accumulate up to 85 unused days, which they can cash in for pay each year.
Open The Books has requested paid time off records from Clark County and has yet to receive production.
Requests for comment to the cities of North Las Vegas and Henderson weren’t responded to by our deadline.