Just yesterday, the D.C. City Council advanced a measure to strengthen its paid sick days law. Tonight, the City Council in Newark, New Jersey, built on the great momentum we’ve seen around this common sense policy this year by passing its own paid sick days standard. This is great news, and Mayor Quintana should sign the ordinance right away so workers in New Jersey’s largest city can earn paid sick days.
There are currently 38,000 people in Newark who cannot earn a single paid sick day. They are forced to choose between their own or their families’ health and their economic security when illness strikes or caregiving needs arise. And the health and well-being of the public, local businesses and the local economy suffer as a result.
The comprehensive ordinance passed tonight would change that by ensuring that nearly all workers can earn the paid sick time 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.
This progress in Newark adds to the great momentum around paid sick days we have seen this year across the country and in New Jersey. In October, Jersey City became the first city in the state with a paid sick days law. But one million people in the state still cannot earn paid sick days. Victory in Newark would pave the way for a much-needed statewide standard.
Mayor Quintana should make signing the ordinance a priority. When he does, Newark will become the eighth jurisdiction in the nation to guarantee workers this basic right. And we will be one step closer to the federal standard the country urgently needs.