Senate Acts on Bipartisan Bill Protecting State Workers From Lost Pay During Shutdown

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 Sweeney-Greenstein-Bateman Bill Will Ensure Employee Pay

 

TRENTON – The Senate today approved bipartisan legislation to protect state employees from losing pay during the brief government shutdown. The bill, approved unanimously, is sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Linda Greenstein and Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman.

“State workers should not be punished for the government closure that was entirely out of their control,” said Senator Sweeney. “We know that hard-working public employees depend on their paychecks to take care of themselves and their families.  We acted quickly because we want to be sure they don’t see them cut as a result of the brief shutdown. I’m grateful the governor has committed to signing the bill once it reaches his desk, and look forward to it becoming law.”

The bill (S-3422) provides that all involuntarily furloughed state employees under the three day implementation of the Governor’s Executive Order No. 228 shall receive their salary or wage payments for the period of the state government shut down from July 1 through July 3, 2017. The senators said the funding is already included in the state budget, so the legislation would not cost any additional money.

“State employees should not be caught in the middle of what was an unfortunate set of circumstances. We recognize that they rely on every dollar of their pay, so we made it a priority to ensure they receive their full wages for the time period state government was closed,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer and Middlesex).  “I want to thank the Senate President for moving expeditiously on this for the sake of the workers.”

“Sending our legislation to the Governor’s desk is the only way to secure back pay for the thousands of public employees who were forced to stay home during the shutdown. I think that we can all agree that this was not their fault,” said Senator Bateman (R-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset). “I hope that the Assembly will do the right thing and follow our lead. There is no justification for continuing to force hardworking New Jersey residents to pay the price for the government’s failure to pass the state budget in time.”

“We fought hard for a state budget that funds important priorities, including a significant increase in education aid, an expansion of pre-k and support for a wide range of programs and services that residents depend on. We now have to make sure that public workers are compensated for the time the state was closed, and this bill will do that,” added Sweeney.