(TRENTON) – With the goal to make it easier for employees in long-term care facilities to take time off if they become ill, the Assembly Aging and Senior Services Committee on Friday advanced a measure to allow long-term care workers to accrue paid sick leave.
Under current New Jersey law, employers must provide employees with earned sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. However, this requirement does not apply to per diem health care employees such as long-term care workers.
The bill (A-4483), sponsored by Assembly Democrats Yvonne Lopez (D-Middlesex), Linda Carter (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union) and Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), would amend existing law to no longer categorize long-term care employees as per diem workers, thus allowing them to accrue paid sick leave.
The measure’s sponsors released the following joint statement:
“Staffing shortages are all too common in long-term care facilities. If an employee feels sick and doesn’t have access to paid time off, they might choose to come to work anyway to avoid losing pay and to make sure residents receive care. Unfortunately, this means they may infect elderly residents with weak immune systems. This is extremely problematic in a COVID-19 reality.
“Allowing long-term care employees to earn paid sick leave is the right and responsible thing to do for staff and residents alike.”