Trenton sick leave policy, starting Wednesday, still a work in progress

In 2014, New Jersey lawmakers and advocates call for statewide policy on paid sick leave. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

In 2014, New Jersey lawmakers and advocates call for statewide policy on paid sick leave. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Montclair and Trenton will be the seventh and eighth New Jersey municipalities with mandated paid sick leave policies when new city ordinances take effect Wednesday.

In Trenton, despite the rule’s imminent rollout, officials are still forming the regulations for the law, and critics say many of the details remain unclear.

“So, for example, how many days you can carry over, how do companies need to report, how do they need to keep their records, how often do they need to submit that to anyone?” said MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce president Robert Prunetti.

“I think these are all questions that need to be answered.”

Fact sheets outlining the new sick leave policies are in draft form and will be sent to Trenton business owners this week and next, said the city’s director of Health and Human Services James Brownlee.

Other details, including how employees can file complaints, won’t come until later.

“What we will do is develop policies based on types of feedback we get and questions we get from employers and employees,” Brownlee said.

Trenton’s rollout process is similar to those used in Passaic, East Orange, and Paterson, Brownlee said.

“What we’re really trying to do is standardize with the rest of the municipalities in the state of New Jersey, so that we’re all working toward the same end and we’re all doing it in the same fashion,” he said.

The law guarantees private-sector workers in Trenton one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. In businesses with 10 or more employees, workers can earn up to five days per year. In businesses with 10 or fewer employees, they can accrue up to three days per year.

Regardless of business size, direct service workers in contact with the public, such as food service workers and child or elder care workers in a health care setting, are eligible to earn up to five days of paid sick time.

The city says it will hold public education sessions after mailings go out to answer common questions.

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