NJ Assembly to consider paid sick-leave bill next month

Burlington County Times
August 6, 2014
David Levinsky
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New Jersey lawmakers plan to take up legislation requiring all employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers.

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto announced Wednesday that the Assembly would consider the legislation next month. He described the initiative as an overdue “step forward in worker rights.”

An estimated 1.1 million employees in New Jersey do not earn or receive sick leave from their jobs, according to advocates pushing for the law.

“New Jersey’s middle class and working poor have waited far too long,” said Prieto, D-32nd of Secaucus. “I support every local effort to adopt this pro-worker policy, but I also feel strongly that this must be a statewide policy that helps all workers.

“Earned sick leave is a modern and sensible workplace policy that is good for business and will prove crucial to New Jersey’s economic strength,” he said.

Legislation to allow employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours they work was introduced in February by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, D-6th of Cherry Hill. Prieto said the Assembly Labor Committee would begin by considering that bill.

Paid Sick Leave's Impact on Workers, Business Earns Mixed Prognosis

June 17, 2014
Andrew Kitchenman
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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.

Gender pay equity bill approved by NJ Legislature and sent to governor

Star Ledger
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.

N.J. Democrats to push for paid sick time

Philadelphia Inquirer
June 16, 2014
Andrew Seidman
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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.

NJ should require paid sick days for workers: Editorial

Star Ledger Editorial
April 16, 2014
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As Connecticut debated paid sick time in 2011, businesses cried poverty: Paying workers to stay home is expensive, they said. People will lose their jobs.

Two years later, that opposition has withered as business owners reported higher productivity and morale, and virtually no effect on their bottom line.

Lawmakers shouldn’t hesitate to make New Jersey the second state to mandate paid sick time. Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden) have sponsored bills calling for the strongest sick-time law in the country, allowing workers to take time off for themselves or family members. No employer would be exempt, no matter how small.

The stronger law would apply to workers in Jersey City and Newark, which already passed local sick time laws during the past year, benefiting 68,000 workers. Nationwide, more than 2.1 million workers have won the right to take sick days in New York City, San Francisco and Washington.

Workers shouldn’t have to choose between staying home with a sick child or losing their job.
Paid time off for illness should be a basic right. Momentum is moving in that direction. Similar to raising the minimum wage, paid sick days help workers contribute more to the economy. For a typical low-income family, losing 3½ days’ pay to illness equals a month’s worth of groceries.