The Votes Are In: Montclair Paid Sick Days Ordinance Passes

Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos

MONTCLAIR, NJ - After almost a two month long debate about earned sick days for private sector workers, the preliminary results are in. 7,892 Montclair voters voted at the polls on the ballot question pertaining to paid sick days in Tuesday's General Election. 5,878 of voters (74.48%) yes on the ballot question, while 2,014 (25.52%) voted no. These numbers reflect the unofficial results with absentee ballots and provisional ballots that are yet to be counted.

Montclair Municipal Clerk Linda Wanat said, "Many, many people voted by provisional ballot." 

Supporters of the ordinance have expressed that without paid sick leave, employees would come to work sick and either worsen their condition or get others sick. They suggest that the ordinance could also apply to those providing care for loved ones who may be sick.

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The ordinance will apply to both full-time and part-time private sector employees, in which workers would have to earn the sick time. One sick day will be given for each 30 hours of work and workers will be able to earn between 3 to 5 sick days per year.

Participants in the effort include New Jersey Working Families, New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Time to Care, BlueWaveNJ, New Jersey Communities United, SEIU 32BJ and CWA District 1, the NAACP, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and NOW NJ.

Similar ordinances passed in recent years in San Francisco (2006) and New York (2013), have sparked a national movement to provide sick days to all private sector workers nationwide. San Francisco was the first municipality in the country to pass an ordinance giving sick days to private-sector workers in large and small companies alike. 

FINAL COUNT UPDATE: The final results from the Essex County Clerk's office indicate the vote count for those who voted Yes was 6,055 (74.40%) and the vote count for those who voted No was 2,083 (25.60%). A total of 8,138 people voted including provisional and absentee ballots.


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