The Newark Star-Ledger had an editorial recently about payouts for unused sick days costing NJ taxpayers billions of dollars. It said, “New Jersey, the state with the nation’s highest property taxes, still allows public- union workers to collect payouts for the unused absences. It’s a perk unheard of in the private sector. Sick pay is for those who get sick. If you don’t get sick, you shouldn’t get sick pay. It’s not complicated or unreasonable until politics enters the picture. We vote for a zero payout.”
There are several bills in the Legislature on sick- leave reform, one of which would prohibit payment for any additional accumulation of unused sick pay after the bill’s effective date.
For years, the Brigantine Taxpayers Association has advocated ending this costly perquisite in Brigantine’s public-union contracts, most recently in our newspaper ad on 12/30/16. These contracts now have a provision which states that there is a cap of $15,000 on these payouts for those hired after May 2010. Those employees hired before that date are entitled to the greater of $50,000 or the value of the accrued and unused sick time. This cap is not a solution. That will occur with the elimination of payment for any additional accrued and unused sick days in new contracts.
Not only should the State legislature act on this reform. We ask that City Council exercise leadership, lift this burden from taxpayers and do the same. We would appreciate hearing Council’s comments on this issue at the next Council meeting on Wednesday, 5/3/17.
Brigantine Taxpayers Association
Anne H. Phillips, president