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Earned Sick Days


Our campaign will seek to educate the public and our elected officials about the importance of establishing an earned sick time law in New Jersey and illustrate the specific benefits provided to workers, businesses, and the broader community.

We encourage you to visit our resources page which contains a variety of information and facts on earned sick days which you can download or share with your friends, family, and coworkers through social media.

Please also make sure to send a message to your legislators letting them know you support an earned sick days law for our state.

How Earned Sick Days Benefits All of Us

According to an October 2013 Rutgers study, an overwhelming majority (83 percent) of state residents – of all political affiliations – support paid sick day policies. And there is good reason for this high level of broad support.

Worker Benefits:

  • There are approximately 1.2 million workers (37 percent) in New Jersey who do not have access to earned sick days. As a result, when these workers get sick, they are forced to make the unfair choice between a paycheck and tending to their health.
  • An earned sick days law would ensure that all workers in New Jersey can earn a limited amount of paid time-off to be used if they or a family member get sick.
  • Often times workers without access to earned sick days are also the ones least able to afford staying home without pay. The wages which these workers lose because they lack earned sick days can easily add up to a month’s worth of groceries every year.
  • Earned sick days is a policy that makes sense for all workers, not just the vast majority of workers who already receive this commonsense benefit.
  • 23% of adult workers have been threatened with termination or fired for taking time off when they or a family member get sick. (Source: Center for American Progress) This would not have to be the case if all workers had access to earned sick days.
  • Earned sick days allows workers to take time off to care for themselves or a family member, and provides a simple and practical way to promote a healthy work-life balance.

Businesses Benefits:

  • In Connecticut – the first state to enact an earned sick leave law – businesses attest to the fact that the policy has had virtually no effect on their bottom line.
  • Earned Sick Leave can provide many measurable benefits to businesses, such as higher employee morale, increased productivity, and reduced training costs due to greater employee retention.
  • When employees go to work sick they are not as productive, they are more prone to mistakes, and they can spread their illnesses to coworkers and customers which can drive away business.
  • U.S. businesses lose about $160 billion dollars a year due to reduced productivity from employees who come to work sick. (Source: Center for American Progress)
  • Nationally, about 75 percent of employers already provide their workers with earned sick days although they are not required to by law according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • In Connecticut, 86% of employers reported no known cases of abuse of the state’s new earned sick leave law. Employees who used their paid sick days averaged about 4 days a year. A third of employees used no sick days at all. (Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research)

Community Benefits:

  • Employees who lack earned sick days usually work in the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors, all of which involve close contact with the general public. When these workers can take a paid sick day, they are much less likely to spread their illness to customers or cause a highly unpleasant dining experience.
  • According to a Star-Ledger editorial, 79% of food workers – whose jobs require them to touch and hold the food you will eat – don't get paid sick days.
  • The money workers lose from having to take unpaid sick days could have been used to help struggling families make ends meet and would be quickly be spent helping boost the local economy.
  • During these fiscally challenging times, it has been difficult to enact laws which work to the benefit of our state’s struggling families. Earned sick days is one of the few policies that will come with a zero-dollar price tag for taxpayers, respect the economic realities of our state, and still provide tangible benefits to the community.
  • Taking a sick day provides time to go to the doctor’s office to make sure a mild illness does not become more severe and require more health care spending to treat.
  • An earned sick days law is morally the right thing to do for employees and would make New Jersey a more pleasant and fair place to work and raise a family. New Jersey should be at the forefront of this pressing workers’ justice issue.