Keeping Equality in the Work Place
John Sarno, President, Employers Association of New Jersey, and Steve Adubato speak about equal pay for equal work, the relationship between employees and employers, and the cost of healthcare.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. We're coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Downtown Newark, New Jersey. It is our honor, once again, to introduce our friend John Sarno, President of Employers Association of New Jersey. John, real quick recap. Your association represents whom? Well, we are comprised of over 350 employers, and we help good employers be better through education, training, counsel, and benefit plans. John, we were talking right before we got on the air, and you said this has been one of the most aggressive agendas going all the way back to the 1930's when it comes to worker protection in New Jersey. What do you mean... what does that mean? Well I think that's right. It's been a very progressive aggressive agenda from the New Jersey Legislature and the governor, and quite frankly, there's been probably two decades of built up demand for minimum wage increases. So increasing to 15 dollars an hour over a period of years, that's a big deal? It's clearly a big deal. Big... it's definitely a big impact item. Earned sick leave... What does that mean for people? Earned sick leave? Well, there are tens of thousands of New Jerseyans who are balancing work and family who are unable to take leaves of absences from their employers, and either they're choosing between their job or their family demands. And if they do get the leave, they're not going to be compensated for it. And so no, there is a longer period of time you can be compensated? That's correct. So from 6 weeks to 12 weeks. And also the people in your orbit, in your family, in your world who are... now have a problem, who are sick, and you are caring for them has expanded? Siblings, parents, grandparents, and also families of choice, folks who are the equivalent of family members. And of course, time off to take care of your own medical condition as well. So... and about equal pay for equal work... talk about that, because employers are prohibited from offering lower pay and benefits to workers in protected classes such as women and minorities. Break that down. Yeah. I think this is a potential game changer because this amends the New Jersey law against discrimination. It creates a private right of action. Which is a lawsuit. A jury trial. Treble damages. And it really puts a a very strategic focus on how people are paid. Very small businesses are kind of idiosyncratic. Very reactive. They're very unstructured on how they pay people. Some of it is based on very subjective reasons. I think going forward this could be a big game changer. Game changer in what way? Are you saying that... There..."