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April 14, 2011

A study by the Office of State Comptroller, initiated by an anonymous complaint, found that New Jersey pays 27,000 state employees a clothing allowance -- $700 for a full-time worker, $350 for part time -- that totaled $22.2 million in fiscal year 2011.

While most of these workers are required to wear uniforms for their jobs and get the benefit via a collective bargaining agreement, the report found that the state pays white-collar employees $4.8 million per year in clothing allowance and that nearly half of the these recipients do not wear uniforms or special clothing.

The Comptroller’s report found that it was difficult to determine which employees were getting the benefit based on titles, due to carryovers buried in previous collective bargaining agreements. They surveyed employees to obtain the data.

What the Comptroller did determine was that New Jersey is particularly generous with its clothing allowance, which is a preset payment rather than a reimbursement. Most states either provide the uniform or reimburse $125 or less per year. Connecticut and Pennsylvania provide $100. New York provides $58. California provides $450, but this is an actual reimbursement, not a preset payment.

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