On May 2, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the New Jersey Earned Sick and Safe Days Act, which requires all New Jersey employers to provide earned sick leave to all employees. The law will take effect on October 30, 2018.
The new law, which preempts local sick leave ordinances that are currently in effect in 13 municipalities within New Jersey, will now require all employers in the state to provide paid sick leave to each employee at the same rate of pay as the employee normally earns. The only exceptions to this coverage are employees in the construction industry performing services pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, and per diem health care employees.
Under the law, employees will accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum cap of 40 accrued hours per year. Employees may begin using accrued sick leave after they have completed 120 days of work for the employer. However, employers are permitted to allow employees to use earned leave at an earlier time if they choose to do so.
Earned sick leave under the law may be used for the following purposes:
Employers may require employees to provide reasonable advance notice (up to seven days) for the use of sick leave under the law. However, if the need for leave is unforeseeable, employees may provide notice as soon as practicable.
In addition to the requirement to provide paid sick leave as outlined above, employers are also required to maintain records documenting the hours worked and earned sick leave taken by each employee for a period of five years. The law will be enforced by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and includes a private right of action to pursue an award for damages.
Prior to its expected effective date of October 30, 2018, employers in New Jersey should prepare by reviewing their current leave policies to confirm compliance with the requirements of the new law. If their existing policies do not provide the same or greater protections to employees as provided for in the new law, employers are required to institute a paid sick leave policy that fully complies with the law’s provisions. Employers should also review their current recordkeeping procedures to ensure compliance with the new law. As with any change or amendment in law, employers should consult with their employment counsel to review the impact of the Earned Sick and Safe Days Act on their current policies and practices.
For information on the New Jersey Earned Sick and Safe Days Act and how it might affect your business, contact: