Report finds most residents in state favor paid sick days

Eighty-three percent of state residents of all political affiliations support paid sick day policies, according to a report from The Center for Women and Work at Rutgers.

Currently, New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would set the minimum paid sick day standards for private sector employers.

The results, reported in “It’s Catching: Public Opinion toward Paid Sick Days in New Jersey,” show 37 percent of state residents lack access to paid sick days, highlighting Hispanic and Latino workers, young workers and those working part-time or earning less than $50,000 per year.

“Additionally, over 50 percent of these workers cited concerns about financial affordability, job loss or bad performance reviews as having an impact on their decision about taking time off from work to recover from illness,” said CWW affiliate Linda Houser in a news release.

The report also noted 38 percent of respondents reported they could not afford time off financially, with 28 percent fearing a bad performance review if they took time off. Nearly 24 percent feared losing their jobs.

Jersey City has passed paid sick days legislation, and Newark is currently considering adoption of similar legislation.

“Our findings show that New Jersey’s low-wage workers, the majority of whom are women, are those least likely to have access to paid sick days,” said Karen White, director of the Working Families Program at the center. “Yet they are the ones who most need this workplace standard so that they don’t have to choose between losing a day’s wages and caring for a sick child or themselves.”

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