Sick leave cap passes assembly committee

A bill that would cap the amount of sick leave an employee can accrue and be paid upon retirement passed the assembly budget committee today.

The bill would cap accrued sick leave payouts at $15,000 for employees hired after the bill is signed.  Employees hired before the enactment would cease accruing additional time.

Under the bill, vacation time would no longer accrue indefinitely, but would expire after a year if not used.

Several public employee unions opposed the bill, each saying their employees were not the problem.

“This bill is not necessary,” said Wayne Dibofsky, associate director of government relations for the state teachers union.  “It is not necessary for the public school employees because they are not the problem. We need less of a hammer and less of a saw and more of a level. We need to think level headedly on the long term impact of all of this.”

Dibofsky said the bill under discussion as well as many other of Gov. Chris Christie’s “tool-kit” measures were creating a culture of fear among teachers union members.  Some 10,000 have already left the profession and another 10,000 are contemplating retirement this year.

Rex Reid, political director of the AFSCME public workers union said the measure seeks to legislate what has aleady been bargained for by the union.

“What this bill is seeking to change is what is already in contracts,” Reid said.

Like Dibofsky, the AFSCME representative said his membership is not to blame for soaring taxes.

“The places where you need to address are not within the rank and file and not even within the supervisory level of government,” he said. “It’s in the upper management.”

Reid accused the legislature and the governor of attempting to control the workforce by corrupting the collective bargaining process.