Jersey City's mandatory paid sick-leave law officially went into effect Friday, making it the first municipality in New Jersey to enact one.
With Newark still revising a similar ordinance of its own and a statewide bill in Trenton awaiting discussion in the coming months, Mayor Steven Fulop said he hopes Jersey City will pave the way for others by being the first.
"I am proud to say that today Jersey City is a better place to live and work," Fulop said in a statement. "Our city's workers and their families need the basic economic security that paid sick days provide and I hope that elected officials around New Jersey and nationwide will follow our example."
Analilia Mejia, executive director of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, said in a statement that her group plans to continue the fight statewide.
"Today is a big day for Jersey City workers and it's an incredibly hopeful sign for the more than a million workers around New Jersey who must still choose between their paycheck and their health," Mejia said. "We can't afford to rest on our laurels: our coalition plans to build on the momentum from Jersey City and fight to make sure that each and every worker in the state can earn sick days to care for themselves or their families."
Jersey City is only one of six cities nationally to enact a sick-leave law, joining Washington, D.C., New York, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco.
The business community has long been vocal in its opposition to the city's ordinance, claiming it will significantly hike-up employers' costs and add further unneeded regulation.
Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action, said in a statement that she sees the opposite taking place.
"This law respects the dignity of workers, protects the public health and will mean savings for businesses big and small," Salowe-Kaye said. "When workers can earn sick days, everybody wins."
A study has been planned to assess the law's impact on the city's economy in its first year.