N.J. lawmaker calls for $15,000 cap on vacation, sick time compensation for municipal retirees

 Trenton State Capitol building. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

Trenton State Capitol building. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

A New Jersey lawmaker is calling on legislative leaders to move ahead with changes in the allocation of vacation and sick leave compensation.

New Jersey property owners have a nearly $2 billion property tax obligation hanging over their heads in the form of unused sick and vacation time accumulated by municipal and school employees, said Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth.

Some of those workers are retiring with half a million dollars or more in unused sick and vacation time.

“And then that municipality or school district has to pay it that year or try to negotiate with the employee to pay that obligation over a couple of years,” she said. “It is a big hit to property taxpayers that we have got to address.”

Legislation Beck sponsored would cap those payouts at $15,000.

“That is the standard that state employees currently live by that’s been in place for many decades. So, we have precedent within the public employee workplace for it, and it’s makes a ton of sense,” Beck said. “It will help to remedy what is a serious, serious issue for property taxpayers.”

Beck said 15 different bills to limit payouts are awaiting legislative action.

“This is just the right thing to do. It’s a reform Democrats and Republicans need to get done,” she said. “It’s not clear to me why it hasn’t moved forward, but it should.”

Public employee unions have said it’s a matter for collective bargaining, not legislation.

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