At least 13 DOE employees, mainly teachers and school cooks, have either lost their jobs or paid heavy fines for using their sick days to take paid vacations. According to the Post, one employee even lied about her mother dying so she could take three days off (one of her sick day activities: going bowling). She also accepted a $150 gift from concerned coworkers before taking her little break. But others did not break the rules so brazenly, and believe they shouldn't have been punished.
Teachers Robert and Cinty Nappo each used five sick days to take their honeymoon in Aruba in 2008, and were each fined $7,500 upon their return. Robert Nappo told the Daily News, "It's unfair that gutless people who may have it in for you stoop so low to do something this." Another teacher said her vacation was actually sick leave. Mary Marconi worked at PS 21 for 13 years, and called in sick after she suffered from a sprained back. She had also been going through a separation with her husband, and both her doctor and her brother recommended she go on vacation to relax. She resigned after coming home from a week long Caribbean cruse in 2009, and is now collecting unemployment. She said, "I loved my job and everything. But they tortured me. I was almost on the verge of...a nervous breakdown."
DOE employees are entitled to 10 sick days per year, three of which can be converted to personal days with departmental permission. DOE spokeswoman Ann Forte said, "Sick days are for when a person is sick, period. If teachers or staff are found to be abusing the policy to take a vacation, we will take action." So when you take sick days to go to your mom's high profile sentencing, you're probably going to be busted.