A bill that would create a statewide sick leave policy has won the approval of a New Jersey Senate committee.
About 1.2 million workers in the Garden State have jobs that don’t give them paid sick days, said Senate Majority Loretta Weinberg. Many of them are low-paid employees, she said, who often push themselves to go to work when they’re sick because they can’t afford to lose a day’s pay.
“This can result in workers suffering more serious illnesses,” said Weinberg, D-Bergen. “For a family this could be devastating both from a health and a financial perspective.”
Weinberg’s measure calls for workers to accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours they work.
Most employers would be required to provide up to nine paid sick days; for those employing fewer than 10 workers, it would be up to five days.
Republican Sen. Tony Bucco said lawmakers shouldn’t impose that requirement on businesses.
“I don’t feel that the legislature should be the labor negotiator for employees,” said Bucco of Morris County.
And Sen. Kevin O’Toole said the proposed mandate is troubling for many business owners.
“I counsel a lot of these small-businessmen and women,” said O’Toole, R-Essex. “If you have this additional restraint on them, it makes it really, really hard for them. It create a whole other cost structure.”
If the measure becomes law, employers who don’t comply would face fines.