On May 2, 2018, the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (the "Act") was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy. The Act takes effect October 29, 2018, preempts all existing New Jersey earned sick leave municipal laws and one (1) hour of sick leave per thirty (30) hours worked.
The Act provides the following:
- Allows employees to accrue one (1) hour of sick leave time per thirty (30) hours worked, with a cap of forty (40) hours per
- Requires employers to pay employees for earned sick leave time at their regular rate of
- Allows employees to use earned sick leave time for: (i) diagnosis, care, treatment of, or recovery from the employee's mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or for the employee's preventive medical care; (ii) time to aid or care for a family member in one of the situations described in (i); (iii) time needed due to an employee's or family member's status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence; (iv) closure of the workplace, school, or childcare facility issued by a public health authority due to a public health emergency; and (v) a school-related conference or meeting. The Act defines a "family member" as an employee's "child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent, or grandparent of an employee, or a spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner of a parent or grandparent of the employee, or a sibling of a spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner of the employee, or any other individual related by blood to the employee or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship";
- Allows employers to require up to seven (7) days' advanced notice of an employee's intention to use earned sick leave time where the need for use of such time is For unforeseeable use, employers may require notice as soon as is practicable;
- Allows employers to request reasonable documentation only if an employee is absent for three or more consecutive days;
- Allows employers to prohibit the use of foreseeable earned sick leave time on certain dates;
- Prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees for requesting or using earned sick leave time; and
- Requires employers to keep records of hours worked and earned sick leave time used by each employee for five (5) years and to post a notice in the workplace of employees' rights under the Act.
There are some exclusions such as employees in the construction industry covered by a bargaining agreement and per diem health care workers. Importantly, the Act permits the recovery of compensatory and liquidated damages in the case of an aggrieved employee. Further, employers with existing paid time off (PTO), personal days, vacation days and sick-day policies may utilize those policies to satisfy the requirements of the act as long as employees can use the time off as required by the act.
If you are an employer or employee with questions regarding how the Act may affect you, please contact one of the attorneys at Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen for assistance.