New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act Takes Effect

October 30, 2018 | John K. Diviney | John J. Robertelli | Employment & Labor

As a reminder, effective October 29, 2018, New Jersey employers – regardless of size – must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in any consecutive 12-month period designated by the employer as the “Benefit Year” pursuant to the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (the “Act”). The Act applies to almost all employers but excludes employees in construction working under a collective bargaining agreement, per diem health care employees and public employees who already have sick leave benefits.

The law operates similarly to New York City’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act, which allows employees to accrue sick time at a rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees begin accruing sick leave on their first day of employment and can begin using the leave 120 days after they commence employment.

Employees can use earned sick leave for the following reasons:

  • Diagnosis, care, treatment of or recovery from an employee’s own mental or physical illness, injury or health condition, including preventive medical care.
  • Care for a family member who is ill or needs treatment. “Family member” is broadly defined as a child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent or grandparent of an employee; spouse or domestic partner of the employee’s parent or grandparent; sibling of a spouse or domestic partner of the employee; or any other individual related by blood to the employee whose close relationship is the equivalent of a family relationship.
  • An employee or his/her family member has been the victim of domestic or sexual violence, which includes the need to obtain medical treatment, seek counseling, relocate or participate in related legal service.
  • The need to attend a school-related event regarding his or her child’s education or health.
  • Closure of the workplace, child’s school or child care facility due to a public health emergency.

Employees must be informed of the law. A model notice must be provided which can be found at: https://www.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/mw565sickleaveposter.pdf. Employers must distribute the notice to all existing employees by November 29, 2018, and to all new employees thereafter. Prior to the distribution, employers must designate the benefit year for purposes of accrual of paid sick time in the notice, which can be the same accrual year for other paid time off.

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