Passaic, Paterson eye paid sick leave law

The Passaic city council next week will consider an ordinance requiring private employers to provide workers with paid sick leave, and Paterson Mayor Joey Torres said he wants to see such an ordinance enacted in his city.

The two cities are among five that are the latest focus of an effort by a coalition of unions, anti-poverty poverty activists and other groups to enact local laws that would mandate paid sick leave for private sector employees, similar to ordinances passed in Jersey City and Newark.

The ordinances are part of a grass roots campaign to generate enough local momentum to get statewide legislation, which was introduced in February, enacted. The groups say about 40 percent of New Jersey workers don't get paid sick leave.

Business groups oppose the measures, saying they will add to the expense of running a business and will interfere with an employer's ability to manage the business. If the issue is to be considered they prefer that be done at the state level rather than by individual cities.

"This is another cost on the employer," said Michael Egenton, a lobbyist for the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce. "This is something that we think goes against the principle of free enterprise."

The ordinance, which is similar to the one passed in Newark, would require employers to grant workers one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Most employers with fewer than 10 workers would have to provide no more than 24 hours of paid sick leave a year, while employers with 10 or more workers would have to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave a year.

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