- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - In a story Oct. 9 about paid sick leave, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the New Jersey Restaurant Association suggested amendments to the measure being debated in the state Assembly. Two members of the organization speaking on their own behalf testified they would be in favor of amendments.

A corrected version of the story is below:

New Jersey lawmakers looking at paid sick leave

New Jersey lawmakers considering bill that would require employers to offer paid sick leave

By MICHAEL CATALINI

Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey lawmakers’ push to require employers to offer paid sick leave - an effort gaining momentum across the state - attracted a standing-room-only crowd at a committee hearing Thursday and touched off an hourslong debate after a vote was postponed.

Labor and trade associations spoke in favor of the bill, arguing that low-wage workers face economic hardships when they take off from work due to sickness but do not get paid.

“An earned sick day standard will boost our state’s working families’ economic and personal health,” Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of the labor-aligned NJ Citizen Action group, said in a statement.

The New Jersey Restaurant Association supports the idea of paid sick leave, but association president Marilou Halvorsen said a mandate could interfere with restaurant owners’ ability to operate their businesses. Two members of the association speaking on their own behalf testified they would be in favor of amendments to the bill.

Others, such as like the right-leaning advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, oppose the measure, saying it would drive up costs for employers and stifle competition.

“It is not that AFP is against (the concept). We are against the mandate of it. It is mandates like these that make me question opening a business of my own in New Jersey,” said Danielle Cyr of the New Jersey branch of AFP.

Under the current proposal, workers would be entitled to one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work. They could accrue up to 40 hours - or five days for full-time employees of small employers - and up to 72 hours for large employers.

The committee had planned to vote on the measure Thursday, but decided at the last minute only to hear testimony, said Democratic Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, after several stakeholders suggested amendments. The Senate has not yet taken up the measure.

A handful of New Jersey towns, including Newark and Jersey City, have similar local laws. Measures for additional ones are on the ballot next month in Montclair and Trenton.

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