N.J. Assembly panel backs paid sick leave bill

Nearly all workers in New Jersey would be guaranteed paid sick leave if a proposal advanced Monday by an Assembly committee becomes law.

Under the bill, A2354/S785, private- and public-sector employees would accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Limits could be put on how much sick leave an employee would be allowed to carry forward from one year to the next — 40 hours, equal to five full days, at businesses with fewer than 10 employees, or 72 hours, equal to nine full days, at businesses with 10 or more workers.

The Assembly Labor Committee endorsed the proposal by a 6-3 vote Monday, the first of a series of approvals that would be needed for the bill to be sent to Gov. Chris Christie. The vote was along party lines, with the committee's six Democrats in support and its three Republicans opposed.

"We understand that new mandates are sometimes difficult for employers or organizations to immediately feel comfortable with, but we applaud your efforts in putting forth a very strong bill that supports workers," said New Jersey Working Families Alliance executive director Analilia Mejia.

Many of the New Jersey business groups with lobbyists in Trenton — such as the Food Council, Farm Bureau, Business and Industry Association and State Chamber of Commerce — still oppose the bill, even after some changes were made to address a few of their concerns.

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