Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee, GP and was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us or New clients email us evenings and weekends go to www.njlaws.com/ContactKenV.htm

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C,

2053 Woodbridge Avenue,

Edison, NJ 08817,

(732) 572-0500,

www.njlaws.com

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Jersey Budget Committee Approves Mandatory Sick Pay Bill

"this is a freelance article from Gemma Gayle "


New Jersey Budget Committee Approves Mandatory Sick Pay Bill
However secure you feel about your financial affairs, this can evaporate when you are hit by a sudden unforeseen crisis such as an injury at work or a child falling sick, which makes it necessary to take time off work. This is the sort of minor crisis that can turn into a major debt problem that’s impossible to recover from. The combination of high medical bills and loss of income can be devastating. If you are living up to the limits of your resources, with a large part of your income going to pay the mortgage on your home, even a small income crisis can result in mounting arrears that eventually lead to repossession. Even when the initial crisis has passed and you are back on full pay, a family that has lost its home, which may have considerably increased in value over the years, will find a much harder mountain to climb the second time around.
In December 2014, the Budget Committee in the New Jersey Assembly gave its approval to bill A2354, which would require all businesses to allow their workers to earn the right to paid time off while they are recovering from sickness or looking after a sick relative. Workers in companies with ten or more employees would earn a minimum of 72 hours off with pay, while workers in companies with fewer than ten employees would earn a minimum of 40 hours. Workers would be allowed to take up to 18 paid sick days per year. Several New Jersey communities have already adopted similar local rules for employees’ sick leave. If passed by the Legislature, the bill would put New Jersey amongst only a small number of states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut and California, that requires companies to pay sick leave for all their workers. This will offer much needed help to low- and middle-income workers who do not have the necessary financial cushion against a loss of income.
Financial planning
Although good financial planning is essential for any wage-earner, it has tended to be viewed as solely the concern of the rich. Financial planning services aimed at people across the full spectrum of wage earners are thin on the ground, with only a few bright exceptions leading the way and concentrating on what most people really need: crisis avoidance rather than crisis management. The greatest concern for almost all low- and middle income families is how to live within your means. It is vital to create a cash-flow plan based on an accurate assessment of your values, goals and priorities. In this respect, the U.S. lags behind some European countries. In the U.K. for example, there is a wide choice of financial planning help available, as well as help for people needing to get out of a financial crisis. National statutory sick pay is also well established, with a standard amount (currently around $150 per week) paid by the employer for up to 28 weeks, which is topped up by company sick pay schemes.
Progress of the new bill
Supporters of bill A2354 claim that it offers a much needed improvement to public health policy and workers’ rights which will prevent them from being torn between looking after their health and keeping their job. Although the bill was approved, the Budget Committee was divided and several members said it would need amending before being put before the Assembly. Several members expressed concern that a provision preempting any similar measure already approved by municipal authorities would make its implementation unpopular among employees. Business representatives had already told the committee that if the bill was enacted it would put an unacceptable strain on companies already bearing the cost of recent minimum wage increases and changes in health care under the Affordable Care Act. New Jersey’s Republican Governor, Chris Christie, has added his voice to concerns, saying that the law could harm the state’s economy, making companies less competitive nationally.
A similar national bill introduced in Congress seems unlikely to succeed, so advocates of paid sick leave are concentrating on the state legislatures and individual cities. Currently, around 40 million Americans do not benefit from paid sick leave. Most of these earn low incomes, mainly in the service sectors, and they do not have the sort of benefit packages including time off with pay that white-collar workers invariably enjoy. Because these new proposals address common public health concerns, they attract widespread support. A 2010 survey on a bill requiring employers to allow 7 paid sick days per year won 86% of public support, although opposition from business leaders was predictably high. It remains to be seen whether the trend towards state legislation to strengthen workers rights for something that is undeniably of benefit on the personal level can be squared with concerns for the wider economy.