TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg that would codify in statute the current donated leave program for state employees in the career, senior executive and unclassified service was approved by the Senate today.
“Medical emergencies happen; that is a part of life,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “This bill codifies a process that allows state employees to help one another by donating time to colleagues who are facing either a catastrophic event like a severe health crisis effecting themselves or a family member or being able to donate time to a pregnant employee who needs more leave than the norm. The beauty of this bill is it encourages all state employees to see themselves as part of a team, with healthier employees lending needed assistance to colleagues not as fortunate.”
The bill, S-1758, would provide that all state employees can receive donated sick or vacation leave if:
- they have completed at least one year of continuous state service
- they exhausted all accrued sick, vacation and administrative leave time. The bill provides for an exception for pregnant employees who would be required to exhaust only accrued sick leave
- they have not been disciplined for absenteeism or lateness within the two-year period preceding the leave
- they meet one of these criteria: suffer from a catastrophic health condition or injury, need to provide care for a family member suffering from a catastrophic health condition or injury, or need to take an absence due to the donation of an organ
Additionally, the bill would expand the sick leave donation program for pregnant employees. Currently, employees cannot receive donated sick or vacation leave if their pregnancy requires an absence from work for less than 60 days. The new legislation would reduce that period to 30 days.
The leave recipient would be allowed to receive between five and 260 sick or vacation days. But no donor would be allowed to give more than 30 days to one recipient and would have to have at least 20 days of accrued sick leave and 12 days of accrued vacation leave after donation.
If signed into law, the bill would take effect immediately.
The bill was approved by a vote of 32-0.