Lampitt bill would address issue of unused sick leave payouts

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie had 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.

But on Tuesday, Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, (D-6), Voorhees, introduced a bill, A4345, that would end sick-leave payouts for retiring employees who have accumulated 60 or fewer unused sick days.

For employees with at least 61 unused sick days, the retiree could receive monthly installments to help offset the cost of their post-retirement health insurance premiums. However, the value could not exceed $7,500.

Lampitt said her bill would fundamentally change sick-leave compensation.

“This would not put cash in their pocket,” she said today.

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 have previously proposed capping the sick-leave payouts to $15,000 and then $7,500. However, Christie wants it to be zero, saying employees should not be rewarded for not being sick.

Lampitt said the Governor’s front office has received the legislation.

“Hopefully we can get to some sort of consensus,” she said.

Lampitt’s bill also would 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.

There are penalties for violations of this provision. For the first violation, the employer will 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 will 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, according to the bill.

For the third violation, in addition to treating the time taken as unpaid leave, the employer will have good cause to terminate the employee, the bill states.

The legislation also 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.

The bill – if it is passed – would take effect three months after it’s signed into law.

Lampitt bill would address issue of unused sick leave payouts