Representatives of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO and its non-profit partner Working Families United for New Jersey (WFUNJ) testified in support of a statewide earned sick leave bill on Monday. The bill (A-2354) later cleared committee on a mostly party-line vote.
The bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji requires employers throughout the state to provide earned sick leave so that employees can take time off when they or a close family member gets sick without being docked a day’s wages or fearing for their job. It would benefit roughly 1.2 million New Jersey workers.
“This common sense bill allows workers to earn sick time for hours worked,” said New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. “When workers accrue time off, they can afford to stay home when they are sick, or keep their children home from school when they are sick.”
Earned sick leave policies are pro-worker and pro-public health. Employees who receive the benefit report higher levels of job satisfaction, less turnover and higher quality-of-life. When health care, food service and other workers have access to earned sick time, customers and clients are far less likely to be exposed to illnesses because employees could not afford to call out sick.
The case for a statewide earned sick leave law has been made. The US is the only industrialized nation without a national sick leave policy. It’s time for New Jersey to act where the federal government has not. Our state’s entire workforce deserves a uniform baseline sick leave standard.