New Jersey: The Latest State to Enact Paid Sick Leave Law
As of October 29, 2018, New Jersey will legally require companies to provide paid sick leave (PSL) for employees. Once it’s in effect, the law will preempt all 13 existing local ordinances and require employers to comply with the new state law. New Jersey joins nine states and the District of Columbia in enacting PSL requirements. Considering five of those states have added PSL mandates in the past two years, it’s clear that the movement is gaining momentum.
Who does this impact?
The PSL law applies to all companies, regardless of size, with employees in the state of New Jersey. There are only a few categories of employees that aren’t covered by the new law. Construction employees in a collective bargaining agreement, per diem health care workers and public employees who are already required to receive paid sick leave are not eligible.
What are the details?
For every 30 hours worked, employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for up to 40 hours per year. The maximum carryover is 40 hours of earned sick leave. As an alternative to accrual, employers may front-load sick leave and offer the full amount of time at the beginning of each benefit year. Employees are eligible to begin using paid sick leave on the 120th day of employment, unless the employer agrees to an earlier date.
Employees may use paid sick leave for any of the following circumstances:
- Diagnosis, treatment, or recovery related to an employee’s mental or physical illness or injury, or for an employee’s preventative care.
- Care for a family member during diagnosis, treatment, or recovery from a mental or physical illness or injury, or preventative care for the employee’s family member.
- Services for the employee or a family member if either is a victim of domestic or sexual violence.
- Closure of an employee’s workplace, or their child’s school or child care center due to a public health emergency.
- Required or requested attendance at a school-related function of the employee’s child or a meeting concerning the health conditions or disability of the employee’s child.
If foreseeable, employees are required to provide notice for absences of three or more consecutive days and “reasonable documentation.”
What are the Implications?
If employers violate PSL laws, employees can sue them and seek damages suffered as a result of the violation. The law also includes an anti-retaliation provision, meaning it prohibits “retaliatory personnel actions” against an employee for exercising their right to sick leave. Fortunately, since the law won’t take effect until October of 2018, employers have time to verify that their PTO practices match up with the new law’s requirements. You can find a full copy of the bill here. The Department of Labor will also be developing notices for employers to disseminate to employees regarding their rights under the new law.
While there are currently just nine statewide PSL bills (in addition to the District of Columbia), counties and municipalities across the nation are introducing PSL ordinances. With more paid sick leave laws and local ordinances emerging, it’s critical that companies stay up-to-date, so they don’t violate new regulations. We’ll keep you informed as we learn of PSL developments in new states and jurisdictions. However, if you are a current client that is impacted by this law, please contact your Payroll Data Service Representative or send us a note. We recommend setting up an accrual policy within Orbit Time and Labor so you can easily track PSL accruals and use. Let us know. We are here to help!