In a widely expected move, the Newark Municipal Council Tuesday approved legislation requiring most Newark-based public employers and private sector businesses to offer sick time to their workers, all but making Newark the second city in the state, after Jersey City, to mandate paid leave for illness.“I am proud to have authored the most progressive and comprehensive paid sick leave ordinance for all Newark workers,” said Councilman Anibal Ramos said. “Sponsoring this historic piece of legislation was the right thing to do for working families who will no longer have to choose between a paycheck and their health.”
“Today is a tremendous victory for 38,000 workers who will never again have to choose between their paycheck and their health or the health of their family,” said Analilia Mejia, executive director of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance. “By extending the right to earn sick days to every single worker in the city, Newark’s earned sick days law will be one of the most comprehensive in the nation. Lawmakers in Trenton and around the state should take notice.”The law, which still requires Mayor Luis Quintana’s signature to be enacted, would allow require private-sector workers to accrue an hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, with workers at businesses employing at least 10 people able to earn up to five sick days a year. Workers at smaller businesses could accrue up to three days annually.
Aside from Jersey City, only five other communities in the nation have a sick-paid law, although state lawmakers are contemplating legislation that would mandate sick leave for workers throughout New Jersey. Other states also have or are considering introducing paid sick-time laws.The measure enjoyed support among more than 80 percent of city residents, according to one recent poll, and was several labor and social-justice advocates also lobbied the council for its passage.