Jersey City, NJ Mayor Steven Fulop (D) is pushing a bill that would require most businesses to offer workers paid sick days. Employers with 10 or more workers would have to provide up to five paid sick days a year, and workers would earn a day off for each 30 days they work.
Fulop will propose his bill to the City Council next week, where it is thought to have good chances of passing given that the majority of the members are aligned with him. He has called such a law a matter of “basic human dignity.”
If the bill passes, Jersey City would join New York City; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; and Washington, DC as cities that guarantee paid sick days, as well as the state of Connecticut. A statewide push in New Jersey to have such a law cover the entire state began with a bill that was introduced in the spring. Massachusetts is also fighting for such a law.
Across the country, 40 percent of private sector workers, including 80 percent of low-income workers, don’t have access to paid sick days. While opponents of such legislation usually claim that it will add too much of a financial burden on businesses, research has shown that the opposite is true. Washington, DC’s law has had no negative impact on business. San Francisco’s had little negative effect and strong business support, while it was even found to have spurred job growth. Connecticut’s has come with little cost and huge potential upsides. On the other hand, lost productivity due to sick workers who can’t take days off costs the average employer $225 per employee per year.