After record amounts of snowfall in New Jersey this winter and many lost sick, vacation and personal days a bill has been introduced to protect workers. Senator Barnes (D-Middlesex) has proposed legislation preventing employers from requiring NJ employees from using sick, vacation and personal time when a state of emergency is called. Recalling many of the poor road conditions during this winter, Barnes believes workers should be able to make their own decisions on travel without fear of retribution or loss of sick/vacation or personal time. Exempt from the bill, police, fireman and other public safety employees. Employers who violate the bill would be subject to a fine of up to $5000.00 for the first offense and $10,000 for subsequent violations.
What issues do you believe stand in the way of the bill’s passage? Calling a state of emergency has been very broad this winter, covering a small snowfall of 4 inches to a foot. Leaving it up to the workers discretion on “when it is safe to drive” or being comfortable with the conditions, will many just stay home when the state of emergency is called? When lifted, will then the employee be required to depart for work?
Don’t get me wrong, I am for this legislation. This issue has been on the table many times this year and in previous years. Attempting to work out a reasonable solution with employers has not been easy and with some hasn’t been worked out at all. Let us wait and see if Senator Barnes is successful in getting it through the legislature. I doubt though that Governor Christie will be on board.