(TRENTON) – With the goal to create protections for certain employees if they must quarantine as a result of COVID-19, a measure passed the Senate and received final legislative approval on Thursday. The legislation now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The measure (A-3848), sponsored by Assemblywomen Yvonne Lopez (D-Middlesex), Nancy Munoz (R-Morris, Somerset, Union) and Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) would prohibit any employer during a state of emergency involving COVID-19 from terminating or refusing to reinstate an employee who requests or takes time off from work because they have or are likely to have COVID-19.
The sponsors released the following statements:
Assemblywoman Lopez: “There’s no getting around it. When someone is diagnosed with coronavirus, they will need to be quarantined and off from work for at least 14 days. Unfortunately, some workers will not have enough sick leave or vacation days to cover their full recovery, and may feel at risk of losing their jobs. We would never want an employee to go to work when they’re ill – especially with a communicable disease like the novel coronavirus – and risk the health of themselves and others. At the same time, no one should ever be let go because they become severely ill, particularly during a worldwide pandemic. In these uncertain times, we must act to ensure no worker in New Jersey who is impacted by COVID-19 faces repercussions for missing work during their quarantine and/or recovery.”
Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz: “These job protections can contribute significantly to limiting the spread of COVID-19. We are giving everyone the tools they need to put their health and the health of others first, without fear of losing their jobs.”
Assemblywoman Downey: “No employee should have to worry about whether or not they will lose their job because they need time off to recover from novel coronavirus. At a time of so much unease, we should be able to assure employment protections for all.”