Morristown mayor delays start of paid sick time law

Mayor Tim Dougherty has delayed the start of paid sick time for private employees in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Mayor Tim Dougherty has delayed the start of paid sick time for private employees in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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By Kevin Coughlin

Some workers in Morristown will have to wait a little longer to take a paid sick day.

Mayor Tim Dougherty signed an executive order delaying implementation of the new ordinance by 120 days, he told the town council at the end of Tuesday’s meeting.

Mayor Tim Dougherty has delayed the start of paid sick time for private employees in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Mayor Tim Dougherty has delayed the start of paid sick time for private employees in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“It’s so employees and employers can get their arms around it. This gives them plenty of time,” the Mayor said.

Earlier this month, by a 6-1 council vote, Morristown became New Jersey’s 13th municipality to mandate that private employers provide paid sick days for their workers.  The measure now will take effect on Jan. 11, 2017.

Dougherty said he consulted with New Jersey Working Families,  the nonprofit that led the drive for this legislation, before signing the order to postpone it.

Several businesses have questioned town hall about how to inform employees about the law, said town Administrator Jillian Barrick. She said that she and town Clerk Kevin Harris will ask other towns with similar ordinances for workplace posters that Morristown can use as a template.

Councilwoman Alison Deeb maintains mandatory paid sick days will hurt local businesses. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Councilwoman Alison Deeb maintains mandatory paid sick days will hurt local businesses. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The law enables private-sector workers to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers in businesses with 10 or more employees can earn five paid sick days per year; those in businesses with nine or fewer employees can earn three paid sick days per year.

Food service and healthcare workers can earn five sick days regardless of company size, for public health reasons. Employees may use sick days to care for themselves or their sick children, siblings, parents, grandparents or grandchildren.

The law does not supersede more generous sick time policies offered by employers. Nor does it apply to public employees already covered by union contracts or state regulations.

Advocates of paid sick time told the council it will reduce contagion and result in happier, healthier and more productive employees. Councilwoman Alison Deeb opposed the measure, contending it will hurt local businesses.

 

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