Paid Sick Law signed by the Governor takes effect in October: Paid Leave a Boon for Caregivers By Christina Hernandez Sherwood

Paid Leave a Boon for Caregivers

By Christina Hernandez Sherwood

Paid Sick Law signed by the Governor takes effect in October. The Law could help more than One million workers.

*This article was written by Ms. Hernandez-Sherwood for AARP New Jersey Magazine and I give her full credit for the work.

When her mother received a late stage cancer diagnosis two decades ago, Cheryl Blackwell didn’t have to worry whether she would have paid time off to care for her. Blackwell worked at a New York real estate company where she was granted paid sick leave so she could help her mother through her last six months.

Now a central New Jersey resident between jobs, Blackwell has worried about whether her next employer will provide paid sick leave if she has to support another loved one, such as a cousin or godmother, through a medical crisis. That concern motivated Blackwell, an AARP volunteer, to testify earlier this year in favor of legislation that would allow New Jersey workers to earn annual paid sick leave.

“Employers need to realize you don’t have a company, organization, nonprofit without your people,” Blackwell said.

After eight years of fits and starts, a sick leave law was signed by Governor Phil Murphy (D) in May and takes effect in October. The law allows New Jersey employees to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick leave a year-one hour for every 30 hours worked, regardless of the size of the employer. This uniform state policy preempts local paid leave until 120 calendar days after starting their job. And the law exempts per diem health care workers and some others.

The law will help the 1.1 million unpaid family caregivers in New Jersey, the majority of who work, said Evelyn Liebman, AARP New Jersey advocacy director. “It’s a modest workplace support that working caregivers need to be able to balance their role as caregivers and their responsibilities at work.”

Broad Definition of Family:

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Cherry Hill), one of the bill’s sponsors, said she was surprised to learn early in her legislative career that more than 1 million New Jersey workers didn’t have access to paid sick leave.

“I come from a world where you work for a living and you get to earn sick time and vacation time,” Lampitt said.

Initially against the legislation, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association was neutral on the final version of the bill, which reduced total sick leave to 40 hours from 72 hours and accepted many existing paid time-off plans already offered by employers, among other amendments.

“We appreciate the substantial amendments to this legislation, made by its sponsors, which will mitigate impacts on well-intended employers,” Michele Siekerka, the association’s president and chief executive.

Another important aspect of the law is its broad definition of family, Liebman said. The law allows employees to use their paid sick leave to care for people who are related by blood or to care for others whose close association is the equivalent of a family relationship.

That means an employee could use his or her sick time to care for a fiancé, a friend, a neighbor or in Blackwell’s care, an unrelated godparent.

“It much more accurately reflects what families look like today,” Liebman said. In fact, 15% of all caregivers care for a friend, a neighbor or another nonrelative, according to the National Center on Caregiving.

Disclaimer: This article was taken from the May issue of New Jersey AARP magazine by author Christina Hernandez Sherwood and I give her full credit for the article. I thought it was very informative to New Jersey residents and their families and wanted to share it with them.

 

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About jwatrel

I am a free-lance writer and Blogger. I am the author of the book "Firehouse 101" (IUniverse.com 2005) part of trilogy of books centered in New York City. My next book "Love Triangles" is finished being edited and should be ready for release in the Fall. My latest book, "Dinner at Midnight", a thriller is on its last chapter. My long awaited book explains the loss of the 2004 Yankee game to Boston. I work as a Consultant, Adjunct College Professor, Volunteer Fireman and Ambulance member and Blogger. I have a blog site for caregivers called 'bergencountycaregiver', a step by step survival guide to all you wonderful folks taking care of your loved ones, a walking project to walk every block, both sides, of the island of Manhattan "MywalkinManhattan" and discuss what I see and find on the streets of New York and three sites to accompany it. One is an arts site called "Visiting a Museum", where I showcase small museums, historical sites and parks that are off the beaten track both in Manhattan and outside the city to cross reference with "MywalkinManhattan" blog site. Another is "DiningonaShoeStringNYC", featuring small restaurants I have found on my travels in this project, that offer wonderful meals for $10.00 and under. So be on the lookout for updates on all three sites and enjoy 'MywalkinManhattan'. The third is my latest site, "LittleShoponMainStreet", which showcases all the unique and independent shops that I have found on my travels throughout and around Manhattan. I have started two new blog sites for the fire department, one "EngineOneHasbrouck HeightsFireDepartmentnj" for the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department to discuss what our Engine Company is doing and the other is "BergenCountyFireman'sHomeAssociation" for the Bergen County Fireman's Association, which fire fighters from Bergen County, NJ, go to the Fireman's Home in Boonton, NJ to bring entertainment and cheer to our fellow brother fire fighters quarterly.
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1 Response to Paid Sick Law signed by the Governor takes effect in October: Paid Leave a Boon for Caregivers By Christina Hernandez Sherwood

  1. jwatrel says:

    This article was written by Christina Hernandez Sherwood and I give her full credit on this informative article that was published in AARP Magazine NJ.

    Liked by 1 person

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