Under the state’s existing donated-leave policy, an employee is eligible to receive donated leave from a co-worker if they have exhausted all their accrued sick time, vacation days, or administrative leave. However, New Jersey lawmakers are in the process of turning what was once just a policy into a codified law. The bill will allow state workers to donate unused time off to those who may be suffering from serious illnesses. Although the donated-leave policy will remain largely unchanged, the new law will make it easier to transfer time off from one employee to another and reduce the requirements for pregnant women to receive donated time.
Pros and Cons
The donated-leave policy is thought to provide state workers the opportunity to see themselves as part of a team. As more fortunate workers help those who are suffering, an altruistic atmosphere of teamwork and comradery can be fostered.
However, workers that have the option to participate in this program seem to have several concerns with its efficacy. For example:
- Can an employee be forced to donate sick time?
- What if an employee becomes sick, but has donated all their time off to another worker?
To some extent, the state legislation does address both concerns. In fact, all leave donors are required to have at least 20 days of accrued sick time and 12 vacation days remaining, after the donation, to be eligible. If the donor becomes chronically ill, requiring more time than they have available, it is hoped that this atmosphere of comradery will leave other employees compelled to pay it forward.
With employee permission, employers are required to conspicuously post the names of those in need of donations. Employees who meet the qualifications can voluntarily offer a donation of no more than 30 days. Employees, managers, and supervisors are prohibited from threatening, coercing, or interfering with one’s right to donate or one’s right to accept a donation. This includes promises of a promotion or threats of retaliation. However, what the consequences are for those who violate these rules remains to be seen.
Leave Donation Eligibility
State workers who have used all their own sick, vacation, and administrative leave time must meet the additional requirements to be eligible for donated leave:
- Currently employed with at least one year of continuous service
- Has not been recently disciplined for lateness or chronic absenteeism
- Currently suffering from a catastrophic health condition; or is caring for a sick family member with a chronic health condition
- Pregnancy requiring 30 days or more absence
Eligible employees can accept 260 donated days in total but no more than 30 days from one employee.
South Jersey Wage and Hour Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Employees’ Rights
If you believe you are a victim of discrimination or retaliation in the workplace, contact a South Jersey wage and hour lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, and we proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey.