Legislation Would Require Earned Sick Days
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. May 15, 2013
More than a million New Jersey workers don’t get paid sick days. A bill in the state legislature would change that.
The measure would set a standard for all employees in the Garden State to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to maximum of nine paid days off.
Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, the executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action, says many employees who don’t have paid sick time are likely to go to work when they’re ill, putting the health of co-workers and the public at risk.
“Obviously we don’t want people sneezing in our linguini when it’s served to us and we don’t want people spreading the flu when they should be home and taking care of themselves.”
New Jersey Business and Industry Association assistant vice president Stefanie Riehl says some businesses already struggling to survive might not be able to afford the sick days requirement without having to cut employees’ work hours or other benefits.
“Businesses just may not be able to shoulder that kind of a burden in this economy.”
The primary sponsor of the legislation, Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt, says the benefits of providing the paid sick time should offset those concerns.
“When employees stay home because they’re sick and they’re not infecting other people at the end of the day it probably won’t cost them more money.”
Lampitt says she’ll work with businesses to make any needed changes in the bill to ensure the sick days are not abused.