Earned Sick Days in Jersey City: A Study of Employers and Employees at Year One

Source: Danielle Lindemann and Dana Britton, Rutgers University, Center for Women and Work, April 2015

On September 25, 2013, the Jersey City Council adopted an ordinance to provide private sector workers with a minimum number of earned sick days to recover from their own illnesses or to care for sick family members. The ordinance went into effect on January 24, 2014. It includes a provision for a research study on the impact of the ordinance on employers and employees to be conducted one year after implementation. The Rutgers Center for Women and Work (CWW) undertook the evaluation. This report presents our findings based on surveys of 289 Jersey City employers and 198 employees conducted by the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling in January and February of 2015. The majority of employers surveyed (80.3%) are providing earned sick days to their workers in compliance with the law, and the majority (61.5%) indicated that they had not needed to change their policies in response to the law – they already provided earned sick days.

Most employers are providing paid leave, regardless of their business size. ….
Employers reported an increase in productivity, the quality of new hires, and a reduction in turnover. ….
Employers reported a reduction in the number of sick employees coming to work. ….
There is no evidence that employees are abusing the law. ….
The law produced positive outcomes for employees. ….

Overall, our findings reveal a number of positive effects of the ordinance on businesses and employees in Jersey City and many areas in which the impact has been essentially neutral. Though the short time span since the adoption of the policy means that the effects of the law have not yet been fully realized, even at year one, many benefits are evident….