The Governor has been slamming Democrats in recent weeks for – among other things – dragging their feet on approving sick-leave reform legislation that will end large cash-outs for retiring employees. Christie had conditionally vetoed legislation late last year that would have created a $15000 cap arguing that the legislative proposal was too rich a benefit (Governor Conditionally Vetoes Sick Leave Cap Legislation December 10 2010).
On November 29 Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (Voorhees) introduced a bill A-4345 that would end sick-leave payouts for retiring employees who have accumulated 60 or fewer unused sick days.
Under the bill unused sick leave payments would not be permitted upon retirement in any amount for any sick leave time accumulated after the bill’s effective date. Supplemental compensation for any time earned prior to that date would be payable as under current law however. Employees with at least 61 unused sick days earned after the effective date of the bill could receive monthly installments to help offset the cost of their post-retirement health insurance premiums at retirement but the value of the benefit could not exceed $7500.
Lampitt’s bill would also prohibit the use of six or more consecutive days of accumulated sick leave in the 12 months prior to retirement without medical necessity verified in writing by a physician.
In addition the bill imposes limits on the carry-forward of vacation leave that is not used in a given year by any current or future employee. In addition the payment for unused accumulated sick leave and vacation leave would be suspended if the employee was indicted for certain crimes that involve or touch the office or employment.
The bill also creates penalties for violation of the Act:
- For the first violation the employer would treat the time taken as unpaid leave and impose a minimum disciplinary penalty of a fine in an amount equal to one and one-half times the daily rate of compensation for each day of violation.
- For the second violation in addition to treating the time as unpaid leave the employer would impose a minimum disciplinary penalty of a fine in an amount equal to three times the daily rate of compensation for each day of violation.
- For the third violation in addition to treating the time taken as unpaid leave the employer would have good cause to terminate the employee.
Further the legislation states that a local government cannot employ a person in a full-time or part-time position while that person is on paid leave from a full-time or part-time position with a local or county government.
Christie has been critical of the way public employees have been able to cash in their unused sick days some leaving with large amounts of money and deriding them as “boat checks.”
Democrats had previously proposed capping the sick-leave payouts to $15000 and then $7500.
Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed legislation A3211 / S2220 / A3392 (Casagrande / Sarlo / Lampitt / Albano) in December of last year that would have capped the payout for accrued unused sick leave at $15000 for those with accrued sick leave valued at less than $15000. The legislation merely froze compensation for accrued sick leave for those with more than $15000 at whatever they have collectively bargained for and accumulated at the end of the current collective bargaining agreement however.
Lampitt said the Governor’s front office has received the legislation. The bill – if it is passed – would take effect three months after it’s signed into law.