Two New Jersey lawmakers are moving ahead with a plan to require all Garden State companies to offer workers at least five days of paid sick leave.

(mm88, ThinkStock)

State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt (D-Camden) joined members of the New Jersey Time to Care Coalition and its partners at the State House, to trumpet their legislation and urge lawmakers to pass it.

The measure would mandate that smaller firms with less than 10 workers offer at least five days of paid sick leave, and companies with more than 10 employees give workers a minimum of nine paid sick days.

"This is common sense legislation, because 40 percent of New Jersey workers don't get paid sick days, and most of these folks are low wage earners," Weinberg said.

She stressed offering them a few paid sick days is what family values are really all about.

"It is the ability that when you are really sick, you can actually stay home for a few days and not lose a day's pay," she said. "It is the ability, if your child is really sick, that you can stay home for a couple of days and not lose a day's pay."

One restaurant worker who spoke out at the news conference said this issue is vitally important.

"What happens if we're sick at work is we can potentially affect other people," the worker said. "We can sneeze into the food and then suddenly we're spreading a virus."

Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action, agreed.

"When you sit in a restaurant and get served your food, we know you don't want somebody to be sneezing in your linguini," Salowe-Kaye said.