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Smith Bill Establishing Sick Leave Banks For Teachers Advances

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Bob Smith which would permit the creation of sick leave banks for school employees was approved today by the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 4-0.

“A sick leave bank is a great idea to help employees prepare for the unexpected,” said Senator Smith, D-Middlesex and Somerset. “Often, when an employee falls seriously ill or becomes seriously injured and needs to take extended time-off to recover, the normal amount of sick leave allotted to each employee isn’t enough. Through this bill, they will have extended leave, voluntarily donated by their coworkers, at their disposal to focus on their health, not the health of their wallets.”

The bill, S-548, would allow for the establishment of sick leave banks for employees of a board of education. With a sick leave bank in place, employees could draw needed days of sick leave in addition to any days to which they would otherwise be entitled. Under the bill, a sick leave bank could only be created with the approval of the board of education and a majority or union representative, and it would be prohibited from requiring employees to participate.

“The concept of a sick leave bank is strictly voluntary in nature,” said Senator Smith. “The bill would only allow for the creation of a sick leave bank when it’s deemed appropriate by both the school board and the workers’ representative. Other than that, I expect that many of these sick leave banks will be flexible entities, and the terms of the agreement will meet the needs of the school district.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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