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Poll: Earned Sick Leave, Good for Employees but Bad for Business?

Can New Jersey companies afford to offer their employees earned sick leave? Can they afford not to?

The New Jersey Legislature is considering bills that would require businesses -- both big and small -- to provide earned sick leave to workers. This is after more than 10 municipalities have adopted similar ordinances. The bills and ordinances vary in terms of how many hours can be earned, whether they can be carried over year to year, and whether they should be part of a larger benefits package known as “paid time off” or PTO -- a pool that would provide vacation, personal, and sick days.

What do you think of these ideas?

  • It’s just one more burden on business, following more requirements for health insurance and an increase in the minimum wage (soon to get even higher). Don’t these politicians understand that this all increase costs, which often results in fewer jobs, fewer entrepreneurs, and a poorer New Jersey economy. We’re going to drive investment away. We have to stop and give the business community time to adapt to all these new requirements.

  • This sounds fine for big business -- who wants sick people in the workplace? -- but small businesses just can’t withstand all these new regulations. They often have part-time and temporary workers, and they shouldn’t have to pay people when they don’t work, particularly if they have to pay someone to cover their shift.

  • I get it, healthy employees are more productive and we don’t want to spread disease. So when someone is sick, they should stay home. But I don’t like the idea of carryovers, which just encourage people to hoard sick days. Employers should just understand when people are sick they should be encouraged to stay home. A specific number of days gives people the idea they have rights to them.

  • Businesses have suggested they want to offer a pool of benefits including sick days, personal days, and vacation. What’s good about that is that it allows businesses to plan. They know when they are hiring someone they have to factor in three weeks, say, when they will be out and no more.

  • We keep talking about the gap between the rich and the poor. Well, this is an example of the gap. If you can’t afford to stay home when you are sick, or when a child is sick, that’s a real problem for the poor and middle class. So that child goes to school or you go to work, spreading disease and creating a great degree of stress. Businesses need to assure their employees they will be paid and won’t lose their job due to short-term illness. The best way to do that is to guarantee a reasonable number of days for that, and to let them be carried over for one year.

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