New Jersey Steering Committee member Marilyn Sealy's testimony, delivered Tuesday helped ensure Morristown became the 13th New Jersey municipality to pass an earned sick day policy.
"When I heard other businesses didn't offer earned sick days I couldn't believe it," Marilyn testified before a packed town council
meeting."I've always offered them, and it's good for my business."
Marilyn owns Wells Rugs Service, a carpet and rug cleaning service that has operated in Morristown since 1921. Shortly after her testimony, the township passed the earned sick day ordinance by six votes to 1.
The law enables employees to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Staff of businesses with 10 or more employees can earn five paid sick days per year; while those in firms 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. Employees may use sick days to care for themselves or their sick children, siblings, parents, grandparents or grandchildren.
Morristown joins New Jersey municipalities Jersey City, Newark, East Orange, Irvington, Passaic, Paterson, Trenton, Montclair, Elizabeth, Plainfield, New Brunswick and Bloomfield in having enacted an earned sick days policy at the municipal level. In total, 35 municipalities throughout the United States have passed earned sick day ordinances.
Marilyn dismissed concerns played up by those opposing earned sick days that the ordinance would hurt businesses, or that employees would take advantage of their employees.
"We don't want workers coming to work sick, they could infect their co-workers, our customers, or even get into accidents," she said. "And I think the fact that my employees have stayed with me for 10 or 20 years has something to do with the fact that I offer earned sick days. It creates very loyal workers."