Lampitt Unveils 2-bill Sick Leave Reform Package

Legislation Will Put an End to Sick Leave Cash Pay-outs for Public Workers, Protect Taxpayers

(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt on Thursday announced she has introduced legislation to put an end to outrageous sick leave cash payments for public workers and eliminate any post-retirement sick leave benefit for non-unionized public workers going forward.
“This is a smart approach that puts taxpayers first,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “We will finally end the outrageously large cash payments to public workers that don’t exist in the private sector and have burdened taxpayers for far too long. We’ll be implementing a reasonable and responsible system that in the long run benefits everyone by putting an end to these unacceptable cash payouts.”
Lampitt’s two-bill package includes a bill that eliminates cash payments for sick leave accumulated after the bill’s effective date and allows up to $7,500 in unused sick leave to be negotiated for use only as a credit towards post-retirement medical care.
The other bill targets what is considered a major problem with cash pay outs for sick leave by eliminating all future post-retirement sick leave benefits for non-unionized public workers such as administrators.
“This is a common sense approach to addressing this issue because it respects our constitutionally required obligations to existing public employees while reforming the system to benefit our taxpayers,” Lampitt said. “Several efforts are under way right not to curtail this burden on the property taxpayers. I hope to work cooperatively in the weeks ahead with all involved, including Senate President Sweeney and Sen. Sarlo, to come to a positive conclusion for taxpayers.”
Under the bill targeting administrators and other non-union workers:
· Payments for unused sick leave earned after the bill’s effective date by any current or future non-unionized public worker would be prohibited;
· A one-year vacation leave carry forward limit would be imposed;
· Sick and vacation leave could be suspended and forfeited for employees charged with and convicted of certain crimes involving their employment; and
· Employees on paid leave from one government entity would be banned from working at another government entity.
Under the other bill:
· Upon retirement, accumulated sick leave days could be used only to offset payments for post-retirement medical benefits. Modeled after New York, this plan allows unions to negotiate up to a cap of $7,500. Employees would be required to use it within the first 5 years of retirement.
· Employees who do not qualify for post retirement medical benefits would be able to collectively bargain up to a cap of $7,500 for a Health Retirement Account to offset co-pays and deductibles. These employees would also be required to use it within the first 5 years of retirement.
· A one-year vacation leave carry forward limit would be imposed;
· Sick and vacation leave could be suspended and forfeited for employees charged with and convicted of certain crimes involving their employment;
· Employees on paid leave from one government entity would be banned from working at another government entity; and
· Veterans, who typically have medical benefits from the federal government, would be able to retain their valued sick leave up to the negotiated amount collectively bargained by their union.
“In the end, these bills change the game when it comes to sick leave cash payouts in New Jersey,” Lampitt said. “The so-called ‘boat check’ will be gone, and local governments will have the flexibility they need to negotiate what works best for their community. The bottom line is this – in the end, the taxpayers win.”