TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, a longtime advocate for ending excessive sick-time payouts for public employees, is urging Legislative leadership to move her bills to stop taxpayer waste following the State Comptroller’s report that found widespread unlawful sick-leave payments.
“One of the ways to drive down our nation-high property taxes would be to eliminate the sick leave payouts. I have been pushing for this for more than 10 years and this report underscores the urgency to stop this abuse of taxpayer dollars,” Munoz (R-Union) said.
The report found that 57 of 60 municipalities failed to follow laws enacted in 2007 and 2010 that placed limits on when and how much local government employees may be paid for unused sick leave. Eighty percent of the 60 towns that were surveyed let employees cash out their sick time when they resign or change jobs, 60% allow payments over the $15,000 cap and 48% can give employees annual payouts for their unused sick days.
“Sick leave is an insurance policy in the event you are too ill to work. It’s not meant to be a bonus, but public employees have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars when they cash in their accrued time,” Munoz said. “I think payout caps are good, but they are being largely ignored, so I would vote to eliminate the payments altogether.”
Originally introduced in 2012, her bill (A220) would prohibit payouts to public officers or employees for accumulated unused sick leave. Another measure (A221), introduced in 2008, would ensure that sick-leave payouts do not count as compensation when calculating public employee pension benefits.
News reports have indicated that rampant sick-leave payout violations throughout the state amount to millions of dollars of waste.
“It’s time to end the yearly bonuses disguised as sick-time payouts. I urge Legislative leadership to post the bills for a hearing as soon as practicable,” Munoz said.
Watch Munoz raise the issue of sick-time payouts at a 2019 Assembly budget hearing: