The Illinois Department of Corrections says the time-and-a-half pay is necessary when guards and other workers call in sick or are on leaves of absence. But union officials maintain a longtime belief that it's symptomatic of an understaffed and overcrowded prison system.
The Belleville News-Democrat details one 2013 incident at a maximum security prison that concerned prison officials. The newspaper says during five consecutive work shifts during the New Year's holiday, there were 407 calls for employees reporting that they couldn't show up to Stateville Correctional Center.
Each sick call meant a substitute had to be hired on overtime. The newspaper reports that time period led to $83,400 more in overtime.