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Should NJ Companies Have to Offer Paid Sick Leave? [AUDIO]

Legislation introduced in Trenton would require all New Jersey-based companies, large and small, to offer at least five paid sick days to their workers every year.

Assemblyman Vinnie Prieto
Assemblyman Vinnie Prieto (NJ Assembly Democrats via Facebook)

However, it’s unclear if the measure will move forward, because lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are expressing their doubts.

“I’m not sure I get it; that’s the kind of regulation that deters companies from coming into the state,” said Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield). “I don’t think government can be the absolute answer to a question about sick leave. This is exactly why New Jersey has to be so careful in terms of further legislation from Trenton to regulate business.”

Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), who chairs the state Senate Budget Committee, agrees.

“This is not something that should be dealt with by individual municipalities,” said Sarlo. “Sick leave policy, starting to carve up different municipalities with different sick leave policies, is not a good thing for the state.”

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) is against the idea as well. “It doesn’t make sense,” said Kean, “(for) people who are employing others, to have a policy mandated by the state just doesn’t make any sense.”

Assembly Speaker-elect Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus) said he understands the sentiment for the bill, but also has mixed feelings.

“I do understand it’s good for morale to make sure people, if they’re sick, don’t have to take that day to come to work,” said Prieto, “but sometimes you think it’s a great thing, and then if that becomes a burden and puts a strain on your business, then we’re not doing the right thing.”

Prieto said, whether the bill is ultimately passed or not, he encourages bringing it to the table and having an honest discussion.

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