An effort by Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick to move legislation addressing six-figure sick leave payouts that some local government employees receive when they retire was blocked by Assembly Democrats during the March 23, 2017 Assembly voting session.
Senate Republicans Jennifer Beck, Mike Doherty and Joe Kyrillos also attempted to force a vote on their sick leave reform bills during the most recent Senate session on March 13. Senate Democrats blocked each of those efforts.
“It doesn’t make any sense to repeatedly block attempts to achieve sick leave reform, when both Democrats and Republicans sponsor legislation to do just that,” Senator Beck (R-Monmouth) said. “I am disappointed to see the majority party pass up another opportunity to provide property tax relief to our residents, by eliminating this billion-dollar expense hanging over their heads.”
Senator Beck’s S-2140 would limit payments for unused sick leave upon retirement to $10,000, and requires fine and reprimand or termination for violation of sick leave policies and regulations by public employees.
Senator Doherty’s S-572 would end the practice known as “terminal leave” when a public employee, in anticipation of retirement, is permitted to use up accumulated days of sick leave. The bill requires a verified medical necessity to use six of more consecutive accumulated sick days in the 12 months prior to retirement.
“Six-figure sick leave payouts to retiring public employees are blowing a hole in municipal budgets statewide,” Senator Doherty (R-23) said. “Hardworking taxpayers cannot afford to shoulder this burden any longer. It’s time for Legislative Democrats to stop playing games and consider the solutions already on the table.”
Senator Kyrillos’ S-194 would limit payments for unused sick leave upon retirement to $15,000, and imposes limits on the carry-forward of vacation leave not used in a give year by any current or future employee of the State, a local government, or board of education.
“Our towns and counties are already working with extremely tight budgets. They cannot afford to pay for retirees who chose to rack up hundreds of sick days instead of using that time for its intended purpose,” Senator Kyrillos said. “We have to end this ridiculous practice. It’s time for the majority party to join our efforts to give overtaxed middle class residents the relief they deserve.”
This continued stonewalling by the majority party follows previous Senate Republican efforts to move legislation that would forfeit the pensions of corrupt public officials, lower transportation infrastructure costs, achieve affordable housing reform, and reduce the cost to taxpayers of public employee health benefits. All of those efforts were blocked by Senate Democrats as well.