Newark– Eight New Jersey mayors, representing municipalities that have adopted local earned sick day laws, joined statewide activists, labor leaders and workers to urge NJ Legislature to move quickly to pass statewide earned sick day legislation.
Organized by New Jersey Working Families Alliance and co-sponsored by the, Anti-Poverty Network, Blue Wave NJ, CWA Local 1032, CWA Local 1037, the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club, New Labor, the Work Environment Council and other members of the Time to Care Coalition; the Mayors and advocates urged lawmakers to enact legislation that guaranteed access to earned sick days to all New Jersey workers. According to New Jersey Policy Perspective, 1.2 million New Jersey workers do not have earned sick days.
“When we passed earned sick days in 2014, we took an aggressive stance in support of workers’ rights,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. “Since then, we’ve seen how well the legislation has worked in Newark– for businesses and workers alike– and today I urge state lawmakers to do the same for all workers.”
“Jersey City proudly led the effort to protect the public health, while ensuring the economic security of impacted workers. The last 5 years implementing a common sense earned sick day policy has taught is that allowing workers to earn sick time increases productivity, reduces turnover, and draws a more attractive candidate pool,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. ”Expanding earned sick time throughout the state will be a win-win for New Jersey’s workers and businesses.”
“By implementing statewide earned sick day legislation, New Jersey will protect the public health while ensuring that no one who works in the state will ever have to choose between their family’s health and their livelihood.” said Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia. “This is the right thing to do for the New Jersey’s working families, and the smart thing to do for our communities.”
“Montclair is proof that earned sick days keeps our families, communities, and local economies healthy, said Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson. “A statewide bill that provides earned sick time to all workers will make New Jersey an even healthier place to live and work, while setting an example for states around the country to follow.”
“Passaic broke new ground by passing the county’s first earned sick time ordinance,” said Passaic Mayor Hector Lora. “New Jersey needs a statewide earned sick day legislation to acknowledge the reality that everyone gets sick, and everyone needs to care for themselves or loved ones when illness strikes.”
“We stand united to urge our Trenton representatives to quickly expand policies that ensure customers and consumers aren’t inadvertently exposed to illness because the individual who cares for mom, or bags your groceries can’t afford to stay home and care for themselves.” Said Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty. “This is more than a worker issue, this hits home for every single person who loves and , or works in New Jersey.”
“As Mayors, we’re at the forefront of innovative policies that meet the needs of residents, local economies and visitors. Our common sense action on Earned Sick should not be limited to the fortunate residents of our municipalities and should be expanded to protect all those who call the Garden State Home,” said Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp.
According to the Center for American Progress, 12 out of 13 New Jersey cities experienced unemployment decreases after implementing earned sick days. The only remaining city had a negligible and temporary increase. The Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, found that almost 42 percent of businesses that changed their policy because of the law reported reduced employee turnover, increased productivity, and improved candidate pool.
New Jersey Working Families Alliance and partner organizations, including BlueWaveNJ, CWA District 1, and SEIU 32BJ, worked over the course of several years to advance local earned sick days with the ultimate aim of a statewide bill.
“Our efforts have been focused on ensuring the right to care for oneself and a loved one without fear of economic hardship for every New Jersey worker,” said Analilia Mejia, executive director of New Jersey Working Families Alliance. “Passing earned sick days locally isn’t enough for members of the community outside the 12 forward thinking municipalities that protect the public health by removing the economic incentive to show up to work sick. This is even more important as the country experiences one of the worst flu seasons in recent history.”
“No person should have to choose between their health or their children’s health and the security of their job, but that is often the choice for one million New Jersey residents without one day of paid sick days,” said Marcia Marley, president of BlueWaveNJ. “Moreover, when they go to work sick or send their children to school sick, they are a health hazard to the rest of us.”
In 2013, Jersey City became the first municipality to mandate earned sick days for all workers. Since then, 12 other municipalities in the state have passed ordinances to guarantee paid sick days. Upon the passage of a statewide bill, New Jersey will join 9 other states and Washington D.C. in guaranteeing a worker’s right to earned sick days that can be used to care for themselves or their family in the event of an illness.
“When we get sick, we need paid time off. It’s a matter of respecting our health. It can’t come down to a decision between getting paid or getting better. And it can’t be just us who live in cities with ordinances to be covered. We need a statewide bill to make sure we’re all covered!” said Olga Morales, organizer at New Labor.
“Ensuring that all workers in New Jersey have access to earned sick days is a common sense policy to guarantee working families have options when a breadwinner needs time to recover from an illness or injury; allowing workers time off to recover while sick also protects the rest of us by keeping germs out of the workplace,” said Dan Fatton, executive director for New Jersey Work Environment Council.