Phil Murphy may not be able to heal the sick but he can make New Jersey business owners pay for them. The governor has signed into law mandatory sick pay for New Jersey workers to the tune of one hour accrued for every 30 hours worked with a maximum of 40 hours per year. That's a possible full time week off to you and me although there is no mention of whether said employee has to necessarily be full-time.

When this comes to pass in about 6 months, New Jersey will be one of only ten states to enact such a measure. The law will not only cover those who are sick, but those who have sick family members, those who need to attend a school conference, and those who need to recover from domestic violence. Murphy says "it's the right thing to do," which is a phrase he uses so much it should be his campaign slogan. Is it the right thing for New Jersey businesses?

Where is the small business owner supposed to find the people to fill in when these sick days are used? Where are they supposed to get the money to pay two salaries for the same job when some can barely afford one? What happens to retail stores in December when employees realize they haven't used their sick days and they will lose them at the end of the month if they don't?

How can they react? For one thing, they could cut back on paid vacation or holidays to make up the lost money. They can hire people off the books to avoid paying it, they can turn people into sub contractors, or they can simply automate the worker out of a job, which if you haven't noticed, is already happening everywhere in New Jersey- except the gas station, which we know would be a tragedy if that happened.

The economy is turning around to the point where some workers are being offered signing bonuses to take jobs. Sick days should be a bargaining chip for businesses to use to lure people. They should not be mandated by the government. We live in a capitalistic society where businesses compete against each other both for workers and for profit. I say let the businesses decide their own sick days and if they go out of business because their not doing enough, then it's on them. That, Governor Murphy, is the right thing to do.

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