New Jersey's 39th Legislative District

Senator Gerald Cardinale

Senator Gerald Cardinale

Cardinale: We Need Sick Leave Reform, Now!

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Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen, Passaic) is calling for immediate action on legislation to end lucrative sick leave payouts for public employees following news that Englewood Cliffs will pay a former Deputy Police Chief more than $440,000.

Sen. Gerry Cardinale is calling for action on legislation to end lucrative unused sick leave payouts. (Flickr)

“Sick days are there to be used during an employee’s tenure. They aren’t some kind of retirement present from the taxpayers,” Senator Cardinale said. “A $440,000 check will get you a pretty nice boat, but if you want a new one you shouldn’t be buying it on the taxpayers’ dime.”

The Bergen Record reported Friday that a former Englewood Cliffs Deputy Police Chief will receive more than $441,000 in payouts, including nearly $120,000 for 150 unused sick days.

Cardinale is a co-prime sponsor on legislation, S-849, that will end the practice of these “boat checks” by prohibiting state, local governments and school boards from paying out any supplemental compensation to any current or future employee for accumulated unused sick leave earned after the bill’s effective date.

The bill also prohibits the use of six or more consecutive sick days in the last 12 months of employment without a medical need verified by a physician. There are escalating penalties for violations of this provision, including giving the employer good cause to terminate the employee after a third offense.

“This isn’t meant as a punishment against employees that have earned their sick leave, they should just be using it as it was intended,” Senator Cardinale said. “The taxpayers cannot afford to be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars just because someone was blessed with perfect health.”

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