There are roughly 1.2 million workers in New Jersey who do not have paid sick days, but that is about to change. After years of legislation regarding paid sick time languishing in Trenton, the state legislature has finally taken action. Bill A1827 passed in the Assembly and was voted through in the Senate 24-11. Governor Murphy signed the bill after publicly backing the legislation. The new law takes effect on October 29.
The law would be a boon for lower paid workers who are the least likely to have paid sick leave. According to studies, 80 percent of workers who earn $65,000 or more have paid sick leave, in contrast to 30 percent of workers earning less than $20,000. The new law would allow workers in the private sector to earn an hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work. Businesses of all sizes would have to allow up to 40 paid sick leave hours. The time could be used to stay home for reasons of illness, to care for a sick family member, to attend school conferences or meetings, or to recover from domestic violence.
Although many New Jersey towns such as Newark, Morristown, and Paterson have their own requirements for paid sick time, there is no state-level law that guarantees earned sick leave to private-sector workers. The new legislation is an attempt to create a uniform standard for businesses operating within the state. The few exemptions included in the bill are for certain construction employees, public employees who already have generous sick leave benefits, and per-diem health care workers.
Opposition to the Bill
The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) took issue with the legislation calling it a one-size-fits-all approach that could harm small business owners. The director of the New Jersey arm of the NFIB pointed out that when a worker uses their paid sick time, the employer may have to hire a temporary worker that needs training. These extra labor costs may prove to be too much of a burden for small businesses that cannot afford them.
However, New Jersey legislators who voted for the bill see the need to support workers, saying that they should not have to make the choice between going into work sick and staying home. The new law would provide for the right of employees to file a complaint for damages should their right to paid sick leave be violated. The bill also includes an anti-retaliation provision.
Marlton Employment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Represent Workers in Wage and Hour Disputes
If you feel you have not been paid according to your contract or in accordance with state and federal regulations, the skilled Marlton employment lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. can help you.
Our knowledgeable team of attorneys can advise you of your rights in all areas of employment law, so call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online today. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.