Just last week, Jersey City became the first city in the Garden State with a paid sick days law. Now, the Newark City Council has taken a critical step toward doing the same in the state’s largest city. This exciting news adds to the paid sick days momentum in New Jersey and across the country. Newark would be the seventh city and eighth jurisdiction in the nation to have such a law.
The Newark ordinance, which was introduced last night, will ensure that nearly all workers in the city can earn the paid sick days they need. People who work in small businesses with 10 or more employees and those who work in food service, child care and direct care would be able to earn up to five paid sick days a year. People who work in smaller businesses would be able to earn up to three paid sick days a year.
There are currently 38,000 people in Newark who cannot earn paid sick days, which means they are forced to choose between their health or their families and their economic security when illness strikes or caregiving needs arise. More than one million people in New Jersey are faced with the same impossible choice because they, too, cannot earn a single paid sick day.
That is why the victory in Jersey City last week and progress in Newark last night are so important – they help pave the way for the state standard New Jerseyites need. And, eventually, they will lead to a federal standard that ensures all workers have this fundamental right. The Newark City Council should recognize the tremendous and widespread benefits of paid sick days and prioritize approval of this common sense measure right away.