June 17, 2014
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One year after groups representing workers and employers battled over a minimum wage hike, a rematch is looming this fall over requiring paid sick leave.
Supporters emphasize the potential public health benefits, including a reduction in contagious diseases spread by sick workers.
But employer groups caution that proposed legislation would worsen the state’s business climate at a time when the state’s economy remains fragile.
Under the bill, S-785 /A-2354, employees would earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work.
The maximum number of hours that they could accrue would depend on the size of the employer: 40 hours for workers at businesses with fewer than 10 employees and 72 hours for those at businesses with 10 or more employees.
Workers could use the time off when they were sick, to care for a family member, or in instances of domestic violence. Paid sick leave would begin to accrue after a worker had been on the job for 90 days.
The bill would prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who requested or used paid sick leave, or who filed a complaint alleging that the employer violated the law.
June 16, 2014
Susan K. Livio
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TRENTON — Two bills aimed at preventing employers from paying women less than men who do the same job won final passage in the state Legislature today.
Any company that contracts with the state must report to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development the gender, race, job title and compensation for every employee, according to the bill (S1038). Employees could request this information from the Division on Civil Rights in the Department of Law and Public Safety.
“Unfortunately, gender wage discrimination is alive and well in the 21st century,” said Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden), chairwoman of the Assembly Women and Children Committee and a sponsor of the Wage Transparency Act. “Hopefully, by empowering employees and holding employers more accountable, we can chip away at the remaining fragments of the glass ceiling.”
The legislation applies only to companies that hold contracts with state government.
“While we can’t regulate private corporations, we can — and, rightfully so, will — regulate contractors doing business with the state” said Assembly sponsor Gabriela Mosquera (D-Gloucester).
The bill passed the Assembly by a 47-31 vote today. It cleared the state Senate in March.
June 16, 2014
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TRENTON - New Jersey Democrats and labor activists are pushing to require private employers to provide paid leave for workers who are sick or who need to attend to loved ones with an illness.
About 38 percent of the state's private-sector workforce, or 1.2 million employees, do not have access to earned sick leave, according to a 2013 study by the Rutgers Center for Women and Work.
Democrats say that diminishes New Jersey's quality of life, but Republicans and business groups argue that new government regulations would stifle productivity and growth.
On Monday, top legislative and labor leaders say they will begin a campaign in Trenton to promote a bill that would mandate paid sick leave. Government employees already have the benefit.
"Look at cities like New York and San Francisco," said Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D., Camden), a sponsor of the bill. Both cities require paid sick leave.
"I work in Philadelphia. I know Mayor Nutter is rethinking his position on sick time to look at quality of life," she said.
Nutter on Thursday said businesses in Philadelphia should give workers paid sick days. Newark and Jersey City recently enacted paid sick leave laws, and Connecticut has a statewide law.
June 23, 2014
Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt to bolster car safety for young children unanimously cleared the full Assembly on Monday.
"With advances in research and car safety technology, recommendations to protect children in motor vehicles are always changing. Just look how different things were just a decade or two ago," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington), Chair of the Assembly Women and Children Committee. "Incorporating the latest recommendations will help ensure that we're doing all we can to protect young children in automobiles."
The bill (A-3161) would amend the state's child passenger restraint system and booster seat law to implement the latest car seat safety recommendations.
Under current law, every person operating a motor vehicle equipped with safety belts (other than a school bus) who is transporting a child under the age of eight years and weighing less than 80 pounds must secure the child in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat.
The bill amends the law to specify that when being transported in a motor vehicle:
* A child under the age of two years and weighing less than 30 pounds must be secured rear facing in a child passenger restraint system equipped with a five-point harness.
* A child under the age of four years and weighing less than 40 pounds must be secured:
Prieto, Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle & Benson Bill Barring Discrimination in School Sports & Phys Ed Signed Into Law
June 19, 2014
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Assemblywomen Pamela Lampitt and Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Assemblyman Daniel Benson to ensure that students with disabilities in New Jersey have an equal opportunity to participate in physical education programs received was signed into law on Thursday
"Every student deserves the chance to compete at the most competitive level possible," said Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson). "With the Special Olympics taking place in Mercer County this week we're reminded that the only limitations we face are the ones we impose on ourselves."
Specifically, the law (S-2079/A-3152) will require each school district in New Jersey to:
- ensure that a student with a disability has an equal opportunity to participate in existing classroom activities that involve physical activity; and try out for and, if selected, participate in athletic programs in an integrated manner to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the student ; and
- ensure the provision of reasonable modifications or aids or services necessary to provide a student with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in physical education programs, existing classroom activities that involve physical activity, and athletic programs in an integrated manner to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the student.
"Competition breeds success," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "Making sure students are competing at the highest level appropriate for them will hopefully inspire them to reach their true potential."