By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.
State of New Jersey Judiciary and Judiciary Council of Affiliated Unions, Support Staff Unit and Support Staff Supervisory Unit
In P.E.R.C. No. 2013-70, the Commission refused to restrain binding arbitration of a grievance challenging a new leave policy at the New Jersey Judiciary. The question in the case was whether a Civil Service regulation preempts a contractual agreement that provides that vacation leave and sick leave are credited to employees at the beginning of the calendar year and thus can be used by employees during the year, subject to recoupment should the employee take an unpaid leave of absence and use more than his or her allotment. The Commission held that the Civil Service regulation, N.J.A.C. 4A:6-1.5(b), does not prohibit use of credited, unearned leave during leaves of absence and therefore the union could proceed to arbitrate its breach of contract claim.