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New Jersey Businesses Fighting Paid Sick Leave Law

A referendum that appeared on the ballot in Trenton last November passed overwhelmingly. The measure required employers in Trenton to provide paid sick days to their employees. Voters supported the referendum 5,308 to 881. With the law set to take effect today, a coalition of businesses and corporate lobby groups have filed a lawsuit claiming the law violates the Constitution and New Jersey law. Trenton was to become the 8th municipality in New Jersey to have a mandatory paid sick leave policy, joining East Orange, Jersey City, Irvington, Montclair, Newark, Passaic and Paterson.

The law in question allows employees to earn, at most, 5 paid sick days per year. For workers at companies with fewer than 10 employees, the maximum is 3 paid sick days per year. Despite the limited nature of the protection, businesses are still fighting to frustrate the will of Trenton voters and keep the rights of workers to a bare minimum. 

For many reasons, the participation of workers in labor unions has waned over the years. The rights those unions fought so hard to earn were, in some instances, included in legislation. Businesses responded by working to insert themselves into the legislative process. Where voters are allowed to speak their minds directly, as through a referendum, businesses use the courts to get their way. In general, workers' rights are now as threatened as they have been for many decades.

Employers have extraordinary leeway to mistreat workers. Still, they are ever on the lookout for more ways to squeeze their employees and maximize profit for ownership. It is important for the citizens of New Jersey, as well as workers all across the nation, to stay abreast of the actions taken by corporate interests. We all suffer when workers' rights are eroded or denied.

Source: NJ.com, "Trenton's paid sick leave law is challenged in lawsuit by N.J. business groups," by Jenna Pizzi, 2 March 2015 

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