JERSEY CITY — This city, the second largest in New Jersey, has passed legislation requiring businesses to offer employees paid sick leave.
The City Council here passed the bill on Wednesday night by a 7-to-1 vote.
Mayor Steven Fulop, a Democrat, supports the measure. Once he signs it, Jersey City will be the first municipality in the state and one of the few nationwide to guarantee time off for illness.
“Paid sick leave will help working families in Jersey City so they won’t have to choose between missing a day of work and caring for their own health or that of a family member,” Mr. Fulop said in a statement.
Workers’ advocates said the bill would allow 30,000 employees in businesses with 10 or more employees to earn up to five paid sick days a year. Employees of smaller businesses will be able to earn up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time.
Family Values @ Work, a national network of 21 city and state coalitions, said policies like earned sick days were about not only people’s health, but also the health of the economy.
“More than 30,000 Jersey City workers will no longer have to choose between following doctor’s orders and putting food on the table,” the network’s executive director, Ellen Bravo, said.
Business groups opposing the measure said it could reduce productivity and increase costs.
“It’s really piling on the small businesses at a time when the economy is still struggling to recover,” Philip Kirschner, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said recently.
The movement for paid sick leave has been gaining traction nationwide. Connecticut; New York City; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C., have passed laws mandating sick leave.