Paid Sick Leave
A movement is being pushed among some in government to mandate that every employer in the state provide some type of sick leave to their employees.
The bill, A-4125/S-2866, is sponsored by Assemblymembers Pamela Lampitt (D-6) & Tom Giblin (D-34) and Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37). The bill would require every employee, including part time hourly employees, be given one hour of paid sick time off for every 30 hours worked.
This paid time off requirement affects every business, no matter how large or small. Employees can accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave at a time if the business has fewer than ten employees and up to 72 hours of paid leave if there are more than ten employees. That same amount of time may be carried forward from year to year by the employee. The sick leave can be used not only if the employee is sick, but also if they claim a family member needs medical care.
Employers will have to keep records going back 5 years to prove that they provided the legally required amount of sick time, and employees will be able to file a complaint if they believe they were fired or simply not promoted because they used their sick time. There would also be yet another notification businesses would be required to post which would alert employees that they have paid sick time. If an employer already provides some other form of paid time off, then they will not need to offer additional sick time as long as the time off they already provide is equal to or greater than what is being mandated.
Your business would be stuck paying double wages some days, once for the employee who was sick and once for the person filling in. Most businesses that can afford to give their employees sick time off will do so as a way to keep their skilled employees. By mandating this benefit, it will just remove more flexibility from business owners when times get tough. Worst of all, there’s potential for this to pile on top of businesses at the same time the minimum wage and payroll taxes may be going up, along with Obamacare being implemented.
For some advocates of this new mandate, the state Legislature is not moving fast enough, and as such they have been pushing at the municipal level. In October 2013 Jersey City became the first in the state to mandate sick leave, although the provisions of its ordinance were not as severe as A-4125. The City Council of Newark has indicated they hope to soon follow with their own proposal. Opponents of these proposals are looking into possible legal action, arguing that a municipality doesn’t have the authority to enact this type of policy.
To read the legislation yourself, click here.