The city council is scheduled to vote on an earned sick time ordinance being pushed by a progressive outfit during its special meeting on September 9th. The ordinance, denounced by business, seeks to compel private sector businesses in the city to provide one-hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.
Initially, council members expressed little interest in sponsoring the ordinance. Some stated it would make more sense to allow voters to decide on the issue through a ballot initiative pushed by the New Jersey Working Families Alliance.
However, during subsequent weeks local elected officials warmed up to the idea, and expressed an willingness to pass the ordinance rather than wait for it to be forced on the city through the alliance’s ballot initiative plan.
The ordinance will benefit 23,300 workers who presently receive no sick time at their place of employment, according to the alliance. Employees who provide food service, childcare, and home healthcare, or are employed by companies with ten or more workers, will be entitled to 40 hours of paid sick leave each year. Other employees would be entitled to 24 hours of paid sick leave each year.
The Greater Paterson Chamber of Commerce which represents a large number of businesses in the city said the ordinance will drive out businesses from the already struggling city. President of the chamber Jamie Dykes said at a time when the city is attempting to rebuild its economy, this ordinance seeks to frustrate the attempt.
Most of the council members have indicated they are in favor of this ordinance. Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres expressed his support for the ordinance as well. With over 4,000 petitions collected to trigger a ballot initiative, the alliance is hoping the council will adopt the ordinance, which is already in effect in Newark and Jersey City, rather than wait for the voters to force the issue in November.