Controversy continues to stir over the growing number of municipal sick leave laws in the State of New Jersey. To date, nine such localities—Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, Newark, Passaic, Paterson and Trenton— have required employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. No other state in the nation has anywhere near that number of municipal sick leave laws.
Several businesses in New Jersey have voiced concerns about this trend. Chief among those concerns is the challenge facing a statewide business trying to comply with a diverse patchwork of municipal laws. As we recently reported, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (“NJBIA”) filed a lawsuit in state court challenging Trenton’s sick leave law on constitutional grounds. Last week, the Court tossed the complaint, finding the law had a “rational basis” reasonably related to the promotion of public health. NJBIA has not stated if it will appeal.
At the same time, the New Jersey Legislature has battled over whether municipalities should regulate sick leave and other conditions of employment. On the one hand, legislators in the State Senate and Assembly have proposed legislation (S2865/A4363) that would prohibit municipalities from mandating paid sick leave for private employers. On the other hand, legislators in the State Senate and Assembly have introduced legislation (A2354/S785), which would require paid sick leave statewide but not preempt any of the state’s municipal laws.