New Jersey Business March 2015 : Page 10

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FRPSDQLHV 0DQ\HPSOR\HUVKDYHDOUHDG\FRQFOXGHGWKDWRIIHULQJ SDLGVLFNOHDYHPDNHVVHQVH&#0f;VROHWâVQRWPDNHLWKDUGHU IRUEXVLQHVVHVWRGRZKDWWKH\DUHDOUHDG\GRLQJ To learn more, visit the Keep NJ Competitive website at www.keepnjcompetitive.org. NJB O  O  O  O  10 March 2015

At Issue

Stefanie Riehl

Seven Ways Paid Sick Leave Impacts All Businesses

One of the most frustrating aspects of the paid sick leave debate is the perception that companies with existing time-off policies will not be affected. Like many government mandates, the paid sick leave bill goes well beyond providing paid sick days. That’s why NJBIA is leading the fight to stop it from being enacted.

Under the bill, employers would have to provide five or nine sick days (depending on their size) of paid, protected leave every year. Beyond that, there are at least seven ways the bill would impact businesses even if they do have sick-leave benefits.

• Carry-Over/Payout: Employees could carry-over unused leave from one year to the next – 40 hours for small companies and 72 hours for larger companies. The only alternative to the carryover would be employers paying the time out each year.

• Recordkeeping: Employers would be required to keep confidential records of any leave time used by every employee for five years. Information on the health of an employee or their family member would need to be treated as confidential and not disclosed (even to a supervisor) without the employee’s written permission.

• Notice Requirement: Employers would be required to provide written notice on the availability of leave 30 days after a poster is issued, at the time of hiring, and any time requested by an employee.

• Documentation Costs: Although employers could ask for documentation on the need for leave, they’d also have to pay for any costs obtaining it.

• Finding Replacements: It would be illegal for an employer to require an employee to find his replacement, even if the employee knew in advance that they’d be taking leave.

• Liability Issues: An employer could be sued if they disciplined an employee for using paid sick leave, took “adverse action” against them, or gave them an “unfavorable reassignment.” If an employee is moved off of a project because they haven’t been in the office, would this constitute adverse action? Couldn’t any reassignment be unfavorable if an employee doesn’t like it?

• No PTO substitution: Employers offering general paid time off (PTO) would still have to provide an additional number of “sick” days to comply with the legislation. That’s because the legislation prohibits employers from reducing existing benefits which are more favorable to employees, or not addressed by the legislation.

By and large, businesses agree that paid sick leave is a good idea. That’s why the overwhelming majority of employers already provide it. In fact, the sick-leave benefits at most businesses are much more generous than what’s required by the bill.

The bill, meanwhile, would add excessive regulations to a business climate that already suffers from overregulation. It would treat all businesses the same, aside from the minimum number of sick days that have to be offered. The regulations, the record-keeping and the legal liabilities would be the same for a local contractor or downtown store as they would for Fortune 500 companies.

Many employers have already concluded that offering paid sick leave makes sense, so let’s not make it harder for businesses to do what they are already doing.

To learn more, visit the Keep NJ Competitive website at www.keepnjcompetitive.org.

Read the full article at http://digital.njbmagazine.com/article/At+Issue/1934814/247014/article.html.

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