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Paid-leave supporters mark law’s four-year anniversary

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The supporters of New Jersey's family leave insurance law marked its fourth anniversary today, saying the program has benefited workers and their families.

The law was sharply criticized by some business groups when it was passed, largely because it added to the regulatory burden on businesses.

John Sarno, of the Employers Association of New Jersey, wasn't among the bill's critics, saying its impact has been "pretty routine."

"Before the bill (became law), we thought with proper information it would be fairly routine, so the result clearly bears out what we predicted," Sarno said.

Sarno said the law was mislabeled as a "leave law" since it didn't mandate that employers grant leave requests.

The law allows workers to take up to six weeks off to pay for newborns or sick family members. They are paid up to two thirds of their weekly wages up to a maximum of $572. It is funded by workers through a tax that totals $24.24 this year.

"You don't have to give the leave," Sarno said, adding: "Most small businesses accommodate employees when they can."

One employer who did back the measure was Herb Greenberg, chairman and CEO of Princeton-based Caliper Corp.

"It's my opinion that it's been extremely good for businesses," said Greenberg, who attended a "birthday" celebration for the law at the Statehouse this afternoon.

Greenberg said the bill has helped give his firm a competitive advantage over other firms in hiring talented workers.

"To attract the best people, you can't just do it with more dollars," Greenberg said.

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