Mandatory Paid Sick Leave is Coming to NJ
in Political & Legislative
By: Chris Abeel, Vice President, Corporate & Governmental Affairs

Assuming Gov. Murphy signs the legislation on his desk, New Jersey is about to join nine other states in the country, becoming the tenth to require all companies provide paid sick leave for their New Jersey employees. Best estimates are that it will affect upwards of one million private sector workers and their employers, taking effect 180 days after enactment.

As they say, the devil is in the details—particularly in how broadly “sick leave” is defined. Paid sick time may also be used for an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or other health condition, or for preventive care. It may also be used to care for a family member under the same circumstances, or for an absence resulting from the employee or a family member being a victim of domestic or sexual violence if the leave is for medical attention, counseling, relocation, legal, or other services.

This is one of several workplace measures that failed to achieve final approval during the Christie Administration that Gov. Murphy has pledged to approve.

We joined with many others to press for a small employer exception. While unsuccessful on that count, the business community was successful in getting numerous amendments that will ease the burden on employers, including credit unions.

Among the changes, the revised bill permits existing paid-time-off plans to satisfy the measure’s requirements and overrides local ordinances in 13 cities so businesses will have to follow only one uniform set of rules. The amount of paid sick time was also reduced from 72 to 40 hours per year.

As I think of the compromises in this legislation, I’m reminded of the Otto von Bismarck quote that “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable—the art of the next best.” In other words, it may be less about what's “right” or what's “best,” and more about what can actually get done. In this case, a paid sick leave mandate was a certainty, so these changes are considerable wins for credit unions.