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Bill eyes 1.2 million New Jersey workers without paid sick leave

In a lot of households, it is the mother who is called when a child gets sick at school or takes time off to help care for a relative with an illness. Many of these women are also the primary wage earners in their family. Yet, New Jersey law does not protect this societal health interest with paid sick days for around 1.2 million workers in the state -- many of them women.

The above reasoning why a group of female leaders are pushing hard for new legislation that would address this exact issue. While these leaders said that the reason mentioned above may be a driving force behind wanting a recent bill to pass, they are fighting for both men and women in the state that deserve access to paid sick leave.

Bill A4125 is sponsored by Assemblywoman Pemela Lampitt, D-Camden and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen. The new legislation would require companies throughout the state to provide their workers with paid sick days instead of forcing them to choose between the health of themselves or a family member and income for the day.

The bill would split the sick-day requirement by the size of the company. Larger business defined as those with 11 or more employees would be required to provide seven days per year. For those with fewer than 11 workers, they would only be required to provide five days per year or one hour sick time for every 30 hours worked.

The wage and hours bill has garnered wide support from many lawmakers, union officials and community leaders, but not everyone is on board with the requirements. Some, like Laurie Ehlbeck, the director of the New Jersey chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said that some small businesses might have trouble writing these requirements into an already tight budget.

Federal and state law sets out specific requirements for employee wages, paid leave, meal time, rest breaks or minimum wage. When these laws are violated, the worker can discuss their rights and options with an employment law attorney. 

 

Source: nj.com, "Women leaders promote paid sick days for all N.J. workers," Susan K. Livio, Aug. 8, 2013

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