October 29 deadline for new NJ paid sick leave law
Earlier this summer, we alerted Members about New Jersey’s new law requiring employers to provide paid sick leave. This is an additional reminder that the deadline to comply with this new law is quickly approaching on October 29, 2018, and MEA is here to help its Members obtain compliance by that date. Specifically, as part of membership:
- This alert summarizes the key components of the new law; and this topic was covered during our Trending Topic Webinar, New Jersey Paid Sick Leave – Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions, now available to MEA Members in Member Tools.
- You have access to a sample New Jersey compliant sick leave policy available in Member Tools.
- A Member Legal Services attorney is available to review your existing sick leave/PTO policy for compliance and recommended revisions and to advise you on implementing your updated policy. This is part of membership and does not result in an additional fee. Contact hotline to arrange for your policy review as soon as possible to ensure your updated policy is ready to roll out by October 29, 2018.
Here is what you need to know about the new law:
Overview of the Law
Effective October 29, 2018, virtually all employers with employees in New Jersey will be required to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Alternatively, an employer may “frontload” the full 40 hours at the beginning of a twelve-month benefit year (employers must establish this benefit year in accordance with the law and may not change it without informing New Jersey’s Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development). Employers with existing paid time off (PTO), personal day, vacation day and/or sick day policies may utilize those policies to comply with the new legislation, provided that employees can accrue and use the time off as required by the law. Note that, if your organization employs individuals in a municipality with an ordinance regarding paid sick time (for example, Newark, Jersey City or Trenton), this new law preempts those ordinances, and they will become moot when the new law goes into effect.
Accrual and Use
Employees can use accrued sick leave after 120 days of work, up to 40 hours per year, for the following reasons: their own illnesses or those of family members; preventative care; to seek support in dealing with domestic violence or sexual assault; in the event of a closure of the employee’s workplace or of a child’s school/care facility because of a public health emergency; or to attend a school or care-related conference in connection with a child’s health condition or disability. Employers have discretion to choose the increments in which employees may use their accrued sick time, as long as the largest increment chosen is not larger than the number of hours an employee is scheduled to work in a given shift. For example, if an employee is scheduled to work a 7-hour shift, the employer cannot require that the employee use paid sick leave in 8-hour increments.
Employers must allow employees to carry over 40 hours of accrued unused sick time from one benefit year to another, but may limit the carryover to 40 hours. Employers may, but are not required, to offer to pay employees for their unused accrued sick time in the final month of the benefit year. If an employee agrees to receive the payment, he/she may choose a payment for the full amount of the unused accrued sick leave or for 50 percent of such time. Unless the employer has a collective bargaining agreement or policy providing for the payment of accrued sick leave upon separation of employment, the new law does not require the employer to pay employees for unused accrued sick time upon employment termination.
Notice and Posting Requirements
The law also imposes notice, posting, and record keeping requirements. Employers must post a notification of employees’ rights under the law and provide employees with a written copy of the notice within 30 days after the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development issues a model notice (not yet issued as of the date of this alert). In addition, employers must document employees’ hours worked and sick time paid, and retain these records for five years.
The law creates a private right of action for employees to bring claims against employers who violate the law.
We will of course continue to keep our Members posted on any developments.
Amy McAndrew, Esquire
Director of Member Legal Services
MidAtlantic Employers’ Association
*This Alert is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.