The New Jersey Senate will debate a bill that would require private employers to grant accrued workers paid sick leave days.
The law would also allow for parents to take a paid sick day to stay home to tend to their children when they are ill.
Currently, the state does not have such a law for private employers, but does grant public sector employees 15 paid sick leave days. Employees are also entitled to a limited number of paid sick days under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The bill, introduced by state Senate leader Loretta Weinberg, D--37th District, is a companion bill to A-1827, which was introduced at the beginning of this year.
The New Jersey State Nurses Association, as well as the NJ Time to Care Coalition, already are advocating the bill, saying that forcing people to report to work while they are sick represents a public health hazard, and that not paying people when they take time off from work for illness represents an undue hardship.
“Workers who are sick and still come into work end up getting others sick, too,” said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. “When parents can’t take off work to care for sick kids, kids go to school sick, as well. With a guarantee of paid sick days, more sick people would have stayed home, and we may have prevented some of the spread of the flu. This doesn’t just make sense for workers; it makes sense for all of us.”
Said NJSNA president Benjamin Evans: “Paid sick days will help mitigate the rising costs of health care in this state as less people become ill and more people seek care before their illness becomes an emergency. It is far less expensive to treat a patient in a doctor’s office or urgent care clinic than in the hospital emergency room.”