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Paid Sick Leave Ordinance on City Council Agenda

Ordinance Requires Employers Offer 40 Hours of Paid Sick Time Per Year For Fulltime Workers, 24/Year For Part-Time Workers
Charlie Kratovil

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Brunswick City Council will introduce a Paid Sick Leave ordinance at its December 2 meeting.

The ordinance will require businesses to provide all full time employees with 40 hours of paid sick leave a year, and all part-time employees with 24 hours a year, in line with almost a dozen other cities in New Jersey.

But it will also include the strongest language yet to deal with temporary agencies, where one in every eight workers are employed.

Several community organizations such as Unity Square, New Labor, and the Esperanza Neighborhood Project have been working to pass the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance for the better part of a year.

Jason Rowe, the Director of Unity Square, described the Sick Leave Ordinance as one of the most comprehensive ordinances in the state.

“This ordinance will have a huge impact on New Brunswick workers and their families in low wage industries,” Rowe said.

“They are not likely to have paid sick leave [currently] and will have to make the heart breaking choice” to either call in sick to stay with their children and possibly lose their job, or to leave their sick child.

Paid Sick Leave will also have “profound public health impacts,” Rowe said.

Many workers in either the retail or restaurant industry who frequently interact with customers are forced to spread their sickness when they can’t stay home from work to recover.

Paid sick leave also allows workers to attend medical appointments before their illness becomes serious, or gives workers opportunities to seek preventive and general practice care such as prenatal check-ups.

Ordinance O-121501, known as the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, is described in the City Council Agenda as “an ordinance to amend and supplement the revised general ordinances of the city of New Brunswick, Title 8, Chapters 56, providing for paid sick time and paid safe time leave within the city of New Brunswick.”

According to City Spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw, the first reading of an ordinance is a way to introduce the legislation. The second reading, which will most likely happen during the following City Council meeting, is when the ordinance “will be open to public comment.”

New Brunswick will be the 11th municipality in New Jersey to pass a Paid Sick Leave ordinance, joining cities like Trenton, East Orange, and Montclair, which have already passed similar laws.

When the question was put to voters in Elizabeth this November, they overwhelmingly supported the policy by a 4:1 margin.

That vote means that the state's four largest cities will soon have paid sick leave legislation on the books.

The City Council meeting will be held on December 2 at 6:30 PM.