ELIZABETH, NJ – Elizabeth voters approved a local ballot question that will guarantee the right of nearly every private sector worker in the city to earn paid sick time they can use to care for themselves or their family in the event of an illness. Elizabeth is the 10th New Jersey municipality to make paid sick time a basic workplace right. The new ordinance would cover 25,000 Elizabeth workers.

“Tonight is a tremendous victory for over 25,000 Elizabeth workers who will never again have to choose between their livelihood and their family’s health,” said Analilia Mejia, executive director of New Jersey Working Families. “This vote is also a clear call to action for elected leaders in Trenton. New Jersey voters believe that paid sick days should be a basic workplace right, and we won’t stop until Trenton enacts a statewide bill that covers every worker in the state.”

“Nearly everyone in New Jersey supports paid sick days, because paid sick days support everyone,” said Dena Mottola Jaborska, associate director of New Jersey Citizen Action and a spokesperson for the New Jersey Time to Care Coalition. “Paid sick days strengthen families, protect the economy and deliver tangible benefits for business. This is a common sense policy whose time has come in New Jersey, and we call on the New Jersey Legislature to pass a strong paid sick days bill without delay.”

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Elizabeth’s new earned sick time allows private-sector workers to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Those that work in businesses with 10 or more employees can earn five paid sick days per year; workers in businesses with nine or fewer employees would be eligible to earn three paid sick days per year. In addition, employees directly in contact with the public, such as food service and daycare workers would be eligible to earn five sick days regardless of company size. The days can be used to care for themselves or for sick children, siblings, parents, grandparents or grandchildren.

Paid sick days have found significant support from local small business owners in Elizabeth. The New Jersey Main Street Alliance, a coalition of small business owners throughout the Garden State, sent its endorsement of the ballot question to nearly 10,000 voters.

"Tonight is a victory for Elizabeth's business owners as well as workers," said Fariz Demiroski, owner of Bella Pizza in Elizabeth, and a member of the New Jersey Main Street Alliance. "When workers can earn paid sick days, they're more productive and less likely to spread germs to customers or coworkers. Earned sick days will be a big benefit to working families, small businesses, and Elizabeth as a whole."

Coalition members of the New Jersey earned sick time municipal campaign include New Jersey Working Families, New Jersey Citizen Action, the New Jersey Time to Care Coalition, the New Jersey Main Street Alliance, BlueWave NJ, SEIU 32BJ, NJEA and CWA District 1.