Facebook PamLampitt.com

NJ lawmakers advance sick leave bills

Burlington County Times
October 27, 2014
David Levinsky
Link to original

New Jersey lawmakers advanced legislation Monday that would require all employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers, as well as a bill capping how much retiring public workers can receive as compensation for unused sick time.

The Assembly Labor Committee approved the mandatory sick time measure by a 6-3 vote over objections from business groups.

Unions and worker advocacy groups applauded the bill’s release, saying it would aid the estimated 1.1 million New Jersey employees who do not earn or receive sick leave at their jobs.

The measure would mandate that all public and private sector employees accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours of work. Businesses with more than 10 workers would be permitted to cap the amount of sick time employees can accrue at 72 hours (nine days). Smaller businesses with 10 or fewer employers could cap the amount at 40 hours (five days).

Earned time could be used by employees to recover or receive treatment from a mental or physical illness or injury, as well as care for a family member. The time also could be used by employees who are victims of domestic violence or who have a family member who is a victim.

Bill requires more suicide prevention training for teachers

October 27, 2014
Kevin McArdle
Link to original

The latest statistics compiled by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2010 indicated New Jersey had the third lowest suicide rate in the country, but that doesn’t mean suicide isn’t a serious issue.

The same data revealed there were 719 suicides in the Garden State that year, a rate of 8.2 per 100,000 people, which is the highest New Jersey has seen since at least 1999. A bill (A-3224) approved Monday by the Assembly Education Committee is designed to improve suicide prevention training in public schools.

Under current New Jersey law, public school teachers are required to receive two hours of suicide prevention training over the course of their five-year professional development period. Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Mount Laurel) doesn’t feel this is adequate enough. His legislation would require teachers to get two hours of instruction every year, for a total of 10 hours over the course of the professional development period.

“What we want to do is make sure that there is some training happening every year because to me, two hours over five years doesn’t seem like enough in this very important area,” Singleton said. “New Jersey is unique because it requires training to be done by a mental health expert.”

N.J. Assembly panel backs paid sick leave bill

The Record
October 27, 2014
Hugh Morley
Link to original

Strong opposition in New Jersey's business community to a bill that would require employers to give their workers paid sick leave failed to prevent the Democrat-backed legislation from moving ahead Monday.

The state Assembly Labor Committee voted 6-3 along party lines to approve the bill, rejecting the criticism of some of the state's biggest business groups, who testified at the committee hearing in Trenton.

The bill would require employers to grant workers an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Workers at companies with fewer than 10 employees would be able to accrue up to 40 hours sick time that ccould be carried over from one year to the next. Employers with 10 or more workers would be required to allow workers to accrue and carry over up to 72 hours of sick leave.

Bill supporters say 1.1 million people in the state are unable to take paid sick leave. But opponents say it will hurt businesses.

"We are concerned about the lack of flexibility in this bill," Mary Ellen Peppard, a lobbyist for the New Jersey Food Council, a Trenton-based group that represents food retailers, told the committee. "Our members do things differently. Our members provide paid time off, but they don't necessarily call it sick time. This imposes a one-size-fits-all standard."

Singleton, Lampitt, Quijano and Pintor Marin Bill to Help Boost Suicide Prevention in Schools OK’d by Assembly Panel

October 27, 2014

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Pamela Lampitt, Annette Quijano and Eliana Pintor Marin that would better prepare teachers to help prevent student suicides was advanced by an Assembly panel on Monday.

"Effective suicide prevention among teens requires a full court press from the community," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "Teaching staff can help be our frontline guards in this battle because they are well placed to notice and act on any early signs of depression. Hopefully this enhanced training will help us avert many future tragedies."

The bill (A-3224) would require that public school teaching staff members receive two hours of instruction in suicide prevention annually as part of the professional development requirement.

"It's important that kids know that there are many resources in place to help them if they're depressed and they should never feel alone," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "Teachers are in one of the best positions to recognize these signs so we should make sure they're well-prepared to talk to students if the need arises."

Currently, two hours of instruction in suicide prevention is required over the course of the five-year professional development period. This bill would require public school teaching staff members to receive two hours of instruction annually, for a total of 10 hours over the course of the professional development period.

Lampitt & Mukherji Earned Sick Leave Bill Released by Assembly Committee

October 27, 2014

Legislation Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt and Raj Mukherji sponsored to require employers to provide earned sick leave to workers in the state was released Monday by the Assembly Labor Committee.

The bill (A-2354) would allow workers to accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

New Jersey would follow Connecticut and California as states to pass legislation requiring employers to allow workers to earn paid sick leave.

"Workers should not have to choose between caring for their health and keeping their paychecks or jobs," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "Guaranteeing workers the ability to earn paid sick days would help ensure workers do not have to choose between their health and their economic security. New Jersey should be a leader in the fight for this common sense, pro-worker policy."

"Earned sick leave is a sensible workplace policy that is good for business and will prove crucial to New Jersey's economic future, stability and strength," said Mukherji (D-Hudson). "Workers who can properly take care of themselves and their families will feel secure in their jobs and be better employees. In addition to improving morale and reducing the spread of illness in the workplace, this legislation will also help employers with compliance and predictability."

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) has said the bill was among his priorities.