NJBIA Calls on Labor Committee to Reject New Paid Leave Mandate

When it meets on Monday, the Assembly Labor Committee should not approve a paid sick leave mandate because it could hurt small businesses and not achieve its intended effects, according to the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA).

“Many small businesses are already struggling without being hit with another government mandate,” NJBIA Assistant Vice President Stefanie Riehl said.  “The state should focus on continuing to improve economic conditions so small businesses can stay open and provide jobs.  Paid sick leave could unintentionally make it harder for businesses to grow and thrive.

“Our concern is that locally owned small businesses will really bear the brunt of this mandate,” Riehl said.  “Our corner stores, dry cleaners and barbershops may struggle stay afloat in the wake of this legislation. That is just one of the reasons we are urging the Legislature  to vote against A-2354.”

Riehl testified against the measure on October 9 on behalf of NJBIA’s 20,000 member companies.  She noted that businesses have a set amount of resources, and that if the state forces them to devote those resources to paying people who are not at work, they may have to make it up by cutting somewhere else.   This is particularly hard for the tens of thousands of small businesses in the state.

“No business wants to lose good workers,” Riehl said, “so when companies can afford to provide paid sick leave, they do.  For those that do not, it’s most likely because they cannot afford it.”

Unfortunately, paid sick leave will dictate a one-size-fits-all policy on all businesses regardless of size.

“Businesses have always been able to tailor their benefits and to customize their policies to meet individual worker needs,” Riehl said.  “Paid sick leave mandates put businesses in a box by forcing them to use a one-size-fits-all program, even those with generous existing policies.”

As currently written, the bill is very prescriptive and  would likely result in businesses eliminating such innovative policies as “well days,” where workers receive extra pay for every month an employee is not out sick, or policies that provide unlimited sick days for employees who have a valid reason and do not abuse the benefit.

Contact: Peter Peretzman, 609-858-9502; Steve Wilson, 609-858-9495