N.J. moves to curtail sick-leave payouts

Municipal leaders in New Jersey are welcoming a proposal to curtail sick-leave payouts for retiring public workers.

Legislation introduced by Senate President Steve Sweeney would allow workers to keep the value of unused sick time they’ve already built up. But it would eliminate future accumulations.

Mount Arlington Mayor Art Ondish, president of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, said reining in those payouts will help towns.

“With the pension and benefit reform, there’s a lot of people looking at retiring because they want to get out before things change, and they’ve got these massive amounts of sick time,” he said. “It’s costing towns a fortune.”

Some municipalities have had to borrow money or lay off workers to make the sick leave payouts, according to Richard Constable, acting state Community Affairs commissioner. He said Gov. Chris Christie’s administration will work with the Legislature to deal with the issue.

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