Last week it was reported that Trenton voters will decide in November whether employers should offer paid sick leave for employees who either fall ill or need to take care of a loved one.

This follows the effort that cities like Newark, Jersey City and Passaic have all made in enacting similar ordinances – with Irvington and Montclair putting the question to the voters in November - and Paterson enacting a similar ordinance tonight.

Now, add to all of those - East Orange.

Just the other night, the East Orange city council unanimously passed an ordinance mandating that all employees have the ability to accrue sick leave.

The way it works is that employers would be required to offer employees one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked – either to be used if one should become ill, or need to take care of a loved one.

Employers with fewer than 10 employees would not be required to offer more than 24 hours of sick time per year – and those employers with 10 or more would be mandated to offer 40 hours of sick time.
This has to make Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto very happy as this adds momentum to the statewide law he would like to see implemented.

And you’d have to admit – it looks as though it’s coming – unless the Governor decides otherwise.

To me it’s practical to have such a policy in place – but then again, I’m saying “to me!” Not necessarily to you, but to me!

I would want my employees – should they become ill, not to feel as if they have to come to work or lose the day’s pay. Who needs a sick employee getting everyone else sick?

And besides, if the employee has a loved one, like a son or daughter who needs to say home from school, it’s only right to allow them the time off to take proper care of their family member.

It promotes better morale among employees knowing that their employer “has their back!”

But again, that’s just me – and that’s all contingent upon whether or not I, as a businessman can afford such a luxury.

And a luxury for some businesses it just might be – especially given the doldrums we’ve experienced.
Should we offer it as employers – yes!

Should the state impose the mandate and say that you must offer it?

Some employee advocates say it’s a basic right that they be afforded paid sick time. Analilia Mejia, executive director of New Jersey Working Families said this in a press release:

“[The] victory in East Orange builds on the incredible momentum established by Newark, Jersey City, and Passaic,”


“Local leaders and grassroots activists are showing the way for a statewide bill that will extend to all New Jersey workers what should be a basic workplace right.”

What it really should be is a basic prerogative of the employer to decide what’s best for his or her business – and not the state.

Other links: