New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law
The New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law takes effect on Monday, October 29, 2018
As of this date, all private employers in New Jersey are required to conspicuously post the law’s Notice of Employee Rights in the workplace. This notice must also be distributed to all current employees by November 29, 2018, and to all newly hired employees thereafter.
Pursuant to this new law, New Jersey employees are entitled to accrue and use up to 40 hours of paid sick/safe time in any period of 12 consecutive months as designated by the employer (the “Benefit Year”).
These hours can be accrued at a rate of one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, or employers may choose to make the entire 40 hours of paid sick/safe time available to employees at the beginning of the Benefit Year.
Employees may use accrued paid sick/safe time after their 120th day of employment, for any of the following reasons:
- Employee’s Mental/Physical Illness: Diagnosis, care or treatment of, or recovery from, an employee’s own mental or physical illness, including preventive medical care.
- Family Member’s Mental/Physical Illness: Aid or care for a covered family member during diagnosis, care or treatment of, or recovery from, the family member’s mental or physical illness, including preventive medical care.
- Victim of Domestic/Sexual Violence: Circumstances related to an employee’s or their family member’s status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence (including the need to obtain related medical treatment, seek counseling, relocate or participate in related legal services).
- Public Health Emergency: Closure of an employee’s workplace or of a school/childcare of an employee’s child because of a public official’s order relating to a public health emergency.
School-Related Parental/Guardian Attendance: Time needed by the employee in connection with a child of the employee to attend a school-related conference, meeting, function, or other event requested or required by a school administrator, teacher, or other professional staff member responsible for the child’s education, or to attend a meeting regarding care provided to the child in connection with the child’s health condition or disability.
This past September, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development released proposed Earned Sick Leave Rules that detail, among other things:
- the procedures employees must follow requesting to use paid sick/safe time;
- the documentation that an employer can require the employee to provide to support a request for this type of leave; and
- the rules governing the carry over and pay out of unused, accrued paid sick/safe time.
These are only proposed rules and the final rules are not expected to be issued until early 2019, even though employers are expected to begin complying with the law as of tomorrow, October 30, 2018.
It is important to note that, prior to posting or distributing the Notice of Employee Rights, the notice must be customized to include the Benefit Year that the employer has chosen for the purposes of accrual of paid sick/safe time. We recommend that employers choose the same 12-month period that they use for the accrual of other types of paid time off, which is usually the calendar year. Careful consideration should be given to this decision because, once the Benefit Year is communicated to employees, the employer cannot change it without notifying the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of the change in accordance with the rules.
Please contact one of our HR Business Partners at 631-794-7400 if you would like assistance in preparing and distributing the required Notice of Employee Rights, or with updating your employee handbooks to include a paid sick/safe time policy that complies with the law.