The New Jersey State AFL-CIO continued to lead the drive for statewide earned sick leave legislation on Thursday, when the bill (A-2354) received its first public hearing in the Assembly Labor Committee.
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 losing a day’s wages or fearing for their job.
“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, and keep their children home from school when they are sick.”
Caps on the amount of sick time that can be carried over from one year to the next are based on the total number of employees on a company’s payroll, and protect business owners so that no employee can accrue a burdensome number of sick days. The bill also prohibits retaliation against an employee who uses or requests to use sick time that they have earned.
“A comparison of paid sick leave policies in the 22 wealthiest countries in the world finds that unfortunately the United States is the only country without a paid sick law,” Eric Richard, legislative coordinator for the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, testified. “It’s time for New Jersey to adapt to the needs of a changing workforce and changing society and do what the federal government hasn’t done, which is to pass earned sick leave bill into law.”