New Jersey Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, a Democrat from Camden County, introduced a bill Monday that would permit workers to earn sick and safe time.
The bill was introduced less than a week after New York City's council passed a law that would make paid sick time available to an estimated 1 million workers who don't have it now. Mayor Bloomberg is expected to veto the bill, but there are enough votes to override his veto, according to the Associated Press.
On April 11, Philadelphia City Councilman William K. Greenlee could not muster enough votes to override Mayor Nutter's veto of a paid sick leave bill passed by City Council in March.
The New Jersey bill would, according to the New Jersey Time to Care Coalition which backs it, mandate sick pay for 1.2 million people or 38 percent of the private sector workforce.
Workers could use the time to take time to recover from illnesses, to obtain preventative or diagnostic care, to minimize the spread of flu, to take care of a close family member, to deal with medical, legal or relocation issues in case of domestic violence and to handle a closure of a school or business for public health reasons.
Workers would accrue up to one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 72 hours, or nine full days, in a calendar year for businesses with more than 11 employees, and up to 40 hours, or five full days, in a calendar year for smaller businesses. Workers would begin to accrue the time immediately, but couldn't take any time until after they had worked for 90 days. Here are the various provisions as described by the coalition.
"Every day, New Jersey's working families are faced with difficult choices," said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of NJ Citizen Action and co-chair of the Coalition, a diverse group of over 80 organizations that came together in support of policies like earned sick days. "Providing earned sick days would ensure that no one has to choose between a paycheck and caring for their own health or that of a sick family member. The Legislature should move quickly to pass the bill so families across the state can take time to care when they need it without fear of losing critical income – or even their job."
Later this week, I'll check in with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association to get its point of view, and, I'll also add a link to the proposed bill once I get it.