By David Madden
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — The debate over mandatory paid sick leave made its way to a New Jersey Assembly committee hearing in Trenton today.
At issue: whether to require employers all across the Garden State to provide paid sick leave. The current legislation would mandate one hour of paid time off for every 30 hours worked, to an annual maximum of five days.
Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, a Cherry Hill Democrat, has been pushing the measure for a year now. The business community, by and large, sees the idea as just more government interference.
“Will some employers be able to absorb these costs? Of course. But many will not, especially when you’re considering this mandate is coming on the heels of minimum wage increase, federal health care reform, and higher taxes in general,” Stefaniel Riehl, with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, told a hearing today.
Backers say the concept is not only working in Connecticut and a number of cities (including six in New Jersey) but insist the plan would also improve workplace efficiency and, ultimately, a company’s bottom line.
“When you walk into a restaurant and you get your meal, you should think about who has sneezed into that special sauce or who’s coughed in your linguini — because it might be a worker who’s not allowed to take a paid day off and had to come to work sick,” said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, with New Jersey Citizen Action.
The Labor Committee of the state Asssembly was scheduled to vote on the plan but opted to hold the bill for further amendments.