Thursday, March 30, 2017

Unused Back Pay Impacts Municipal Budgets

Today is featuring an NJ Spotlight article on  NJ municipalities and school districts owing almost $2 billion in unused sick and vacation pay.

Plaintalker pointed out Plainfield's situation regarding Compensated Absence Liability in 2008 ("The Big I.O.U"). The past administration was not putting away anything toward the cost of payouts, but this one has been doing so. Last year, $150,000 was allotted for accumulated absence and $67,300 was paid. This year, the administration wants $75,000 set aside.

As of 2010, new employees can only receive a maximum of $15,000 in unused sick or vacation pay. For a municipality with a mature workforce at the top of the pay scale, a bunch of retirements can cost a bundle in payouts. By contrast, some towns don't allow carryover of sick and vacation pay and so have no problem.

I could not find a page in the 2017 Municipal Data Sheet that showed Plainfield's total liability. In past data sheets, it was spelled out by categories and stated both the number of days and the amount owed. Update: Finance Director Ron West says the amount is in the User Friendly Budget and it is $3,882,593.35.

I was surprised to see this article, because the topic might be considered a bit arcane. Perhaps there is a new interest in how public money is spent, or maybe a wish for even greater reform.



  1. Wait and see when I retire the sick time they going to have to pay out and then my vacation time can we all say CHAAA CHING

  2. Hi Bernice,

    I hope you water situation has been repaired. I hope the Plainfield School District limits carry-over of sick and vacation days. Our teachers do well compared to other workers who don't have good benefits. We need to keep Plainfield affordable and this is one way.

  3. It's called NEGOTIATIONS. But what a great deal. Save 15 sick days in your first year of employment from years ago when the hourly rate was $10/hr and cash it in upon retirement and get the same number of days at their retirement hourly rate of $30/hr. Not a bad return on a $0 investment.

  4. Start by mandating vacation time be limited to the amount of time carried from year to year. Sick time is acculated when no disability insurance is available.

  5. This disgusts me every time i see it. No public sector job allows this practice to tvus degree. Use it or loose it. No wonder this state has issues. I know, just the tip of the iceberg.