Sticking to his promise, Governor Murphy on May 2 signed legislation mandating that New Jersey employers are required to provide a minimum amount of paid sick leave to their employees.
“There is no reason anyone should have to choose between economic security and their health,” said Governor Murphy. “After today, New Jerseyans will no longer have to face such a choice. I am proud to sign into law one of the strongest earned leave protections in the country for every hardworking employee who deserves the basic right of a paid sick day.”
The move follows efforts enacted in 13 municipalities, but the statewide law extends it to the private sector. According to figures from the state, 1.3 million New Jersey workers do not have access to paid sick leave.
For every 30 hours worked in a calendar year, the employee receives one hour of sick leave to a maximum of 40 hours. The new law starts in 180 days.
With the governor’s signing, New Jersey joined nine states and Washington, D.C., that require employers to provide some level of paid sick time.
The New Jersey Business and Industry Association, a leading voice in the private sector, said in a statement the organization “appreciated” the changes made in the final version of the law.
“Among the important amendments in this legislation that we advocated for are 40 hours of paid sick leave per year, down from 72 hours of paid sick leave originally requested in the bill, as well as the acceptance of many existing paid time off plans already offered by employers before the mandate,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka in a statement. “The original bill also allowed employers to require workers to submit a doctor’s note for sick time they take, but the employer would have been obligated to pay the employee’s out-of-pocket costs for obtaining one. That requirement has been removed.”
She added that, “While we have historically opposed this mandate, NJBIA appreciates these important amendments, the deliberation taken by the bills’ sponsors to understand its impacts on businesses and for working in the spirit of compromise, while achieving their overall goal.”
Sen. Linda Greenstein, D-Middlesex, who was a sponsor for the Senate bill did not return a call for comment.