New Jersey’s struggling gambling industry, outspoken workforce and vulnerable environment have driven legislative developments in recent months, giving attorneys tackling related or potential litigation plenty of pending bills to watch in 2016.
Paid Sick Leave
Among the most controversial legislation advocating for employees is the proposed Paid Sick Leave Law, S785 and A2354, under which workers would get the better of five to nine sick days or more generous packages provided under local laws.
The Senate bill, also sponsored by Weinberg, got full approval in Dec. 17, while the Assembly version is poised for a second reading by the chamber. That bill counts Assembly members Pamela R. Lampitt, D-Camden, Shavonda E. Sumter, D-Passaic, Raj Mukherji, D-Hudson, Jerry Green, D-Passaic, and Benjie E. Wimberly, D-Bergen-Passaic as primary sponsors.
During a Senate committee hearing in June, the legislation was hailed by unions, think tanks and groups such as the New Jersey Working Families Alliance. Business-centered organizations, such as the New Jersey Farm Bureau and the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, blasted the administrative and expense ramifications.
Given Christie’s previous opposition to mandated sick leave, the future of the legislation remains to be seen, according to Newark-based attorney Thomas P. Doherty, a McCarter & English partner who tends to side with arguments by the bill’s opponents.
“In the aggregate, the [workforce-friendly] legislative proposals would create new administrative burdens on employers, including smaller businesses and start-ups, and increase the risk of litigation as traditional employer prerogatives are legislatively constrained,” Doherty said.