Nearly half of Milwaukee County employees working at the House of Correction and more than a third of mental health workers used family and medical leave last year, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The heavy use of family leave is a symptom of the stress and burnout that marks those around-the-clock operations, officials said. Forced overtime at one jail has led to higher usage of family leave, as well as ordinary sick time, said Kevin Schoofs, president of the correctional officers union. The 40 or so vacancies at the House of Correction have meant double shifts and canceled days off – so much extra work that some officers are off only a day or two a month, Schoofs said.
At the House of Correction, 212 employees took some family and medical leave time last year, and 102 workers took other types of leaves of absence, for a total loss of more than 31,000 employee hours. That works out to an average of 99 hours per employee taking the leave. Last month, the Journal Sentinel reported that a large increase in assaults at the mental health complex by patients against other patients and staff had contributed to high staff turnover and recruiting problems.