The Assembly Budget Committee of the New Jersey state legislature approved a paid sick leave bill Monday by a 6-4 vote.
If the bill is passed, New Jersey workers will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. In smaller organizations, employees will be able to earn a required minimum of five sick days per year; at companies with less than 10 employees, workers will be able to accrue 40 hours of sick leave that could be carried over to the next year. Workers at larger businesses would be allowed to carry over up to 72 hours or 9 days of sick leave from one year to the next.
The New Jersey Time to Care Coalition praised the committee’s vote. “When you get sick, you shouldn’t need to worry about losing your pay or even your job,” said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director of NJ Citizen Action and spokesperson for NJ Time to Care. “We thank the Assembly Budget Committee for their commitment to advance the right of all workers to be guaranteed a basic standard of earned sick days.”
In November, residents of Trenton and Montclair overwhelmingly voted for local measures that would require private-sector enterprises to offer paid sick leave. In the last year, eight New Jersey municipalities (East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Newark, Passaic, Paterson, Montclair, and Trenton) have taken legislative action on paid sick leave. There are only 16 cities with paid sick leave laws in the entire country. If the statewide measure is approved, New Jersey will become only the fourth state to offer paid sick leave.
Last week, US Secretary of Labor Tom Perez met with activists and some New Jersey lawmakers at Rutgers Law School in Newark. “We are the only nation in the civilized world where we don’t have some form of federal paid leave, and we’re working on that in Washington with the leadership of the President,” Perez said. “You are ahead of the curve,” he told them. “It probably doesn’t feel that way as you push the boulder up the hill.”
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 11/6/14; Times of Trenton 11/8/14; New Jersey Time to Care Coalition 12/15/14; NJ Advance Media, NJ.com 12/12/14