PARIS — Amendments to the town’s extended sick leave policy were authorized by the Board of Selectmen at its meeting Monday.

The changes add limitations to the policy that preclude employees from donating accrued sick time and limits the number of employees eligible to use the policy. 

The extended sick leave policy, approved by the board last month, allows employees to voluntarily donate accrued vacation, personal days, sick days or holidays to fellow employees facing catastrophic health issues who have already expended their paid time off.

The policy has come under fire from some residents who claim that allowing employees to donate sick time they may not have ordinarily used is a misuse of taxpayer dollars.

Resident Janet Jamison said the policy closely resembled the Family Medical Leave Act and the board had adopted it without a full understanding of its details.

Town Manager Amy Bernard, responding to complaints from residents at the meeting, said the policy was a safety net of last resort that was only used on a voluntary basis.

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The policy has not been used since it was put in place, she said. 

Board of Selectmen Chairman Bob Kirchherr suggested amending the policy to remove sick leave from the available time employees can donate. In July, Kirchherr, along with Selectman Robert Wessels, voted against adopting the policy.

Selectman Ryan Lorrain, who advocated to adopt the policy, admitted he rushed into a decision without a full appreciation of the issue and agreed that precluding employees from donating sick time was the right course of action.

Board members also endorsed an amendment suggested by Bernard that prevents employees who receive income protection or short-term disability insurance from receiving donated time. 

If employees were eligible to receive those donations, Bernard explained, it could compromise their ability to receive the insurance benefits they were entitled to from their coverage. 

The amendment would drop the number of town employees eligible for the program from 18 to seven, Bernard reported. 

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