Legislature Passes Bill To Extend Earned Sick Leave to Over 1 Million New Jerseyans

Today, New Jersey achieved a huge victory in supporting workers, families and businesses by passing legislation (S-2171) that will extend earned sick leave to over one million employees. No longer will workers have to choose between staying home to get well – losing a day’s worth of pay if not their job in the process – and going to work, which would put their colleagues and the public at risk for infection. As a result of this legislation, public health and worker productivity will improve, and the state’s economy will be made more resilient.

Currently, about seven out of ten workers in New Jersey already have access to earned sick leave. Making sure that this benefit is extended to just about everyone is simply common-sense and shows that New Jersey believes in supporting family values. It’s a terrible thing when a worker, especially parents with sick children, have to make the difficult choice of going to work or staying home and getting healthy. It’s nice to now say that workers don’t have to choose between their health or the health of their family and their job.

Businesses will benefit from this legislation as workers with access to earned sick leave are more productive and engage in less turnover. Businesses that don’t currently offer earned sick leave would experience savings and reduced costs after implementing this policy. Of the workers who don’t currently have access to earned sick leave, a significant share work in food and retail industries, meaning they interact with the public. Making sure that employees in those sectors have the ability to stay home and get well instead of being forced to go to work will benefit public health and is expected to help cut down on the number of viral outbreaks.