NJ AFL-CIO Partner Leads Drive for Earned Sick Days

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO, through its Working Families United for New Jersey (WFUNJ) coalition, strongly supports enactment of a statewide earned sick days law, which would create a uniform and humane standard so that no New Jersey worker is forced to choose between going to work sick or losing a day’s pay.

WFUNJ has been a leader in the quest for a statewide earned sick days policy. The state AFL-CIO has been working side-by-side with our coalition partner and legislative sponsors to craft amendments so the proposal is one all our affiliates can be proud to support. On Thursday, WFUNJ Executive Director Edward Correa joined U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, elected officials and others for a roundtable discussion on earned sick days at Newark City Hall.

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Research shows that earned sick days policies work. In cities and states that have adopted them, workers report higher levels of job satisfaction, less turnover and higher quality-of-life. Most employers report no hardships in complying with the law. When workers have more money to spend, the local economy benefits. When health care, food service and other workers have access to earned sick time, customers and clients (you and I) are far less likely to be exposed to illnesses because employees could not afford to call out sick.

 This patchwork of policies is by no means the answer, however. New Jersey needs a statewide uniform earned sick days standard so that workers in one jurisdiction aren’t treated differently than those who work elsewhere.

This common-sense proposal would provide earned sick leave benefits to roughly 1.2 million New Jersey workers – more than a third of the state’s work force – who lack them now. Not surprisingly, unequal access to earned sick days disproportionately affects women and those who earn less than $50,000 per year (more than half lack earned sick days), and Hispanic, Asian and black workers.

Through WFUNJ, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO remains committed to seeing an earned sick days policy enacted statewide, so that all New Jersey workers are uplifted and treated equally under the law.

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