New Jersey Business & Industry Association President & CEO Michele N. Siekerka issued the following statement today regarding the governor’s conditional veto of legislation to expand New Jersey’s Paid Family Leave program, and his absolute veto of legislation raising the minimum wage to $17.98 an hour for transportation service workers at three transit hubs.
“The Governor did the right thing today for New Jersey small businesses by rejecting two pieces of legislation that would have made it more expensive and more difficult for small businesses to operate in this state.
“The Paid Family Leave Expansion that the governor conditionally vetoed today would have doubled the amount of time an employee can be away from work, increased their benefit checks, and made more people eligible to take a leave—all without providing any new funding for the program. Even worse, if the governor had signed this legislation, employers with as few as 20 employees would have been required to guarantee job protection for workers on a 12-week paid leave.
“NJBIA strongly opposed the Paid Family Leave expansion because it would have made it difficult to run a small business and also would have required payroll tax increases down the road once the expanded program quickly ran out of money. The governor was correct in saying that the focus should be on raising awareness of the current program before significantly expanding its benefits without any regard for how to pay for it.
“The governor’s veto of separate legislation that would have raised the minimum wage to $17.98 an hour for transportation service workers at three specific transit hubs was also the correct decision. This legislation would have set a terrible precedent by circumventing the collective bargaining process and imposing backdoor wage and benefit increases by statute, instead of through contract negotiations. The proposed $17.98 an hour would have been a more than a 100 percent increase over New Jersey’s current minimum wage. What small business can remain competitive with such a mandate?”