New Jersey’s Democratic Governor, Phil Murphy, signed a pro-employee Paid Sick Leave bill into law on May 2, 2018. It will take effect on October 29, 2018. To date, nine other states and the District of Columbia have laws that require paid sick time off, as paid sick leave is not legally required in most jurisdictions. This law is a formal act that demonstrates Murphy’s campaign promise to support New Jersey’s working families.
The new law applies to businesses of all sizes and requires that employees accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked, for a minimum of 40 hours paid sick leave each year. The employees can use their accrued sick leave after the employee works for 120 days, but of course, employers can permit the leave to be used sooner.
The new law provides numerous circumstances in which employees may use fully paid sick leave, for not only themselves, but also for family members. The paid sick leave can be used as follows:
1) time off for diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or for preventive medical care for the employee;
2) time off for the employee to aid or care for a family member of the employee during diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, the family member’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or during preventive medical care for the family member;
3) necessary absence due to circumstances resulting from the employee, or a family member of the employee, being a victim of domestic or sexual violence;
4) time off during which the employee is not able to work because of a closure of the employee’s workplace, or the school or place of care of a child of the employee, by order of a public official due to an epidemic or other public health emergency, or because of the issuance by a public health authority of a determination that the presence in the community of the employee, or a member of the employee’s family in need of care by the employee, would jeopardize the health of others; or
5) time off 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 conditions or disability.
It is worth noting that the new law does not apply to employees performing service in the construction industry, who are subject to a collective bargaining agreement, certain public employees; and to per diem health care employees.
Employers may offer “unspecified” paid time off that includes personal, vacation, and sick days, as long as the accrual rate is at least equal to the new law. Based on this new law, all New Jersey employers must re examine their current Paid Time off policies to ensure that they are compliant with the law before the end of October.