The State of NJ passed an enhanced Sick Leave Law on April 12, 2018. Following this development, NJ Governor Phil Murphy tweeted that he would sign the law today, May 2. Unlike earlier versions, the revised law will apply to ALL employers (there is no minimum, small business are included).
What You Need to Know:
- The new law preempts all similar municipal legislation so there can be a uniform rule throughout the state. There were 13 jurisdictions with their own paid sick leave laws.
- Employers are required to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick time during a 12 month period.
- 1 hour is accrued for every 30 hours worked.
- Employers may front-load the 40 hours; simpler administration.
- Law’s requirement is met if the ER offers PTO that accrues at least as quickly as required under the law. So, if an ER has a vacation policy that permits time off for sickness as generously as that required under the new law and accrues at least as quickly as one hour for every 30 hours worked, the ER need not add a separate sick-pay policy.
- Applies to most employees in NJ, including temp agency employees (per-diem healthcare employees, union construction employees, and public employees who already have sick benefits are excluded).
- New employees may take paid sick leave beginning the 120th day after date of hire.
- Permitted reasons for leave:
- Diagnosis, care (including preventive care), treatment, or recovery for the employee’s own mental or physical condition;
- Diagnosis, care (including preventive care), treatment, or recovery for a family member’s mental or physical condition;
- Absences due to an employee’s or family member’s status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence (if the absence is used for counseling, relocation, legal services, or participation in related civil or criminal proceedings);
- Time when the workplace, school, or childcare is closed by order of a public official due to a public health concern; and
- Time to attend a school-related conference or meeting.
Broad definition of family member: any individual “whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” An ER may discipline an EE who uses sick time for a reason other than as specified in the law.
- Employers may require notice for foreseeable absences
- Employers may require documentation to confirm the absence for
- unforeseeable absences and
- absences greater than three consecutive days
- Unless the ER’s policy provides for unpaid sick leave to be paid to the employee at the end of the year, EEs may carry over sick leave from one year to the next. HOWEVER, ERs are not required to pay more than 40 hours in a 12-month period. (ERs can choose a benefit year, so it doesn’t need to be a calendar year.)
- Earned but unpaid sick leave only needs to be paid to the EE if the ER’s policy says that accrued sick pay needs to be paid to a departing EE
- ERs need to keep records relating to sick-pay accruals and payments for 5 years
- There needs to be a workplace poster about sick pay rights and a notice provided to new employees
- EEs can sue if they are not paid their sick leave; the damages are 2 times the unpaid sick-pay wages
- The law becomes effective 180 days after signature. If signed May 2, that would be October 29.
We will update you accordingly should more information be announced.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.
- Text of the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act, http://www.foxrothschild.com/content/uploads/2018/04/NJ-Paid-Sick-Leave.pdf
- J. McDonnell and B. Braddock, “New Jersey Legislature Passes Paid Sick Leave Bill”, Jackson Lewis, https://www.jacksonlewis.com/publication/new-jersey-legislature-passes-paid-sick-leave-bill
- “New Jersey Passes Paid Sick Leave Law”, Fox Rothschild LLP, http://www.foxrothschild.com/publications/new-jersey-passes-paid-sick-leave-law/
- R McEwan, L Marcus and S Chilco, “New Jersey Governor to Sign Statewide Paid Sick and Safe Leave Bill”, Littler, https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/new-jersey-governor-sign-statewide-paid-sick-and-safe-leave-bill