Economy

Chris Christie Is Fine With Americans Going Without A Paid Day Off When They Get Sick

CREDIT: AP Photo/Jim Cole

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie

At a recent town hall event in New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was asked whether he supports paid sick days by a member of the New Hampshire Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy.

“I don’t believe in making paid sick leave mandatory,” he responded. “I just don’t believe in more regulations that would make us less competitive.”

Instead, he offered up his own idea, which is “to allow for folks to donate sick leave to each other.” In other words, he would make it so that coworkers can donate any unused sick time they may have accumulated to someone else who might need it more.

Presidential Contender, Gov. Chris Christie on Earned Paid Sic…

At a campaign stop in New Hampshire last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he “doesn’t believe in making paid sick leave mandatory,” suggesting instead that employees should be able to donate sick leave to coworkers in need of time off.How do you donate something that you don't have?

Posted by NH Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

But currently, about 40 percent of Americans in the private sector don’t get any paid sick leave from work, so they wouldn’t be able to donate it to each other. And those who do get it may need it for their own illness or to care for a family member who gets sick. The United States is the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee paid sick time.

Christie has been dogged by questions about paid sick leave on the campaign trail before. It’s become a big topic in his home state, where 10 cities and municipalities have passed laws mandating leave. Eighty-three percent of his constituents support a statewide law, and lawmakers have introduced a bill, but he has stood staunchly against it.

Activists may be targeting Christie on paid sick leave, but other Republican candidates have also been asked about other forms of paid leave and come up with similar answers. Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Carly Fiorina, and John Kasich have all said they don’t believe the government should mandate the ability for all Americans to take paid family leave for a new baby or serious illness. The only one to break with that trend has been Marco Rubio, who has offered up a tax break for companies that offer paid family leave, although it wouldn’t likely help achieve universal coverage.

On the Democratic side, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have come out in support of paid sick days, while all three candidates support paid family leave.