Hello party people!

As I write this, outdoor temperatures are lower than my age - gross, I know - and for the second year in a row, the bitter cold winter weather also brought a spike in COVID-19 cases for the second year in a row. (Also gross, I know)

But this year, there was an added twist: the Omicron strain. It is more contagious and spread like wildfire across the Jersey Shore during the holiday season.

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For some, this meant using a bulk of their paid time off to quarantine whether they had time to spare or not.

Let me put it in perspective: According to Zenefits.com, the average number of PTO days given to employees is....10 DAYS!

If someone quarantines for the full five days - which benefits themselves and others - they are now being forced to burn through 50% or their PTO.

Half of their paid time off is now gone because they did the right thing and quarantined to benefit themselves and the health of others?

No. No. No.

The more people I talk to, the more I am starting to realize that this issue is happening across the board among New Jersey residents, no matter their profession.

That is the problem.

Yes, if someone is sick or must quarantine they are technically off of work but people's time is being sucked up left and right by an issue that is affecting every single person on this planet.

Usually I would say, "Just take the loss and move on!"

But we are about to approach the 2 year mark since the pandemic started and COVID-19 has made it clear that it is a health issue we will be dealing with for a while.

So....idea time!

Maybe Jersey residents should be given a few extra paid days off that can only be cashed in with a positive COVID-19 test.

OR....maybe work from home equipment should become mandatory for jobs that can be done remotely. This one benefits the employers just as much as the employees because the work will be getting done whether people are in office or not.

For example, a friend of mine tested positive and after five days, she felt good enough to work. However, she was still showing minor symptoms so her quarantine was extended.

Work from home equipment wasn't available so all that PTO was docked back in September of 2021 and she was left with one day for the remainder of the year.

This pandemic proved that A LOT of jobs can be done remotely so we might as well take advantage of it. What does it matter WHERE people are working if the work is getting done?

One more thing: If a plan to address this PTO issue isn't addressed, people might start going into work even after being exposed in fear of losing all of their paid time off.

Something to think about.

Email me your thoughts or ideas to Nicole.Murray@townsquaremedia.com because I can't be the only one who noticed this.

For now, stay warm (yea right) and stay safe!

Mwah!

Nicole S.  Murray

But in other scary news....TAXES!!! AHHH!!!

2021 NJ property taxes: See how your town compares

Find your municipality in this alphabetical list to see how its average property tax bill for 2021 compares to others. You can also see how much the average bill changed from 2020. For an interactive map version, click here. And for the full analysis by New Jersey 101.5, read this story.

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