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How Will The New Jersey Sick Leave Law Affect You?

September 14, 2018

New Jersey is the tenth state that has imposed a statewide mandatory paid-sick-leave law. On May 2, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act to go into effect October 29, 2018. This law will provide eligible employees with paid leave for their own medical needs, those of a family member, or other covered reasons. The Act requires businesses of all sizes to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees during an employer-established benefit year. Almost all employers in New Jersey will feel the effect of the new law in some way. It will be important to prepare current policies and compliance practices before the law sets in. Here is an overview of what employers should know:

Who Is Covered?
An Individual Engaged In A Service To An Employer In The Business Of The Employer For Compensation. The Act Excludes Employees In The Construction Industry Employed Under A Collective Bargaining Agreement, Per Diem Healthcare Employees, And Public Employees.

How Can Leave Be Used?

  • For diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, an employee’s health condition or for preventive medical care for the employee.
  • For the employee to aid or care for a covered family member during diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, the family member’s health condition, or during preventive medical care for the family member.
  • A family member includes: child; grandchild; sibling; spouse; domestic partner; civil union partner; parent; grandparent; spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner of a parent or grandparent of the employee; 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.
  • Certain absences resulting from the employee or a covered family member’s status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence.
  • Certain closures of the employee’s workplace, or the school or place of care of a child of the employee by order of a public official or public health authority.
  • For time needed by the employee to attend his/her child’s school-related conference, meeting, function, or another event.

How Is Leave Accrued And Carried Over?
Leave Time Begins To Accrue On October 29, 2018, The Law’s Effective Date, Or When Employment Begins, Whichever Is Later, At A Rate Of One Hour For Every 30 Hours Worked. Employers Are Not Required To Allow Employees To Accrue More Than 40 Leave Hours In A Benefit Year.

An Employee Will Be Permitted To Carry Over 40 Hours Of Accrued, Unused Sick Leave At The End Of The Benefit Year. No More Than 40 Hours Of Accrued Time May Be Utilized In Any Benefit Year.

Increment Of Use
Paid-Sick-Leave Can Be Used In Minimum Increments Of Hourly, One-Half Day, Or Whole Days. Increment Usage Will Not Be More Than The Employee’s Regularly Scheduled Shift For That Day.

What Verification Is Needed By The Employee For Leave?
If An Employee Is Absent For Three Or More Consecutive Days Due To Reasons Covered Above, Reasonable Documentation Must Be Provided Verifying The Need For The Absence. Before Returning To Work From A Sick Leave Absence Of 3 Calendar Days Or More, An Employee Must Provide A Verification That He Or She May Safely Return To Work.

How Does This NJ Paid-Sick-Leave Law Impact Existing PTO Policies?
Employers Can Use Their Existing Paid Time Off Policies To Satisfy The Law, As Long As It: Allows Employees To Access And Accrue Sick Leave At Least At The Same Rate As Required By The Law, And Permits Employees To Use Leave For At Least All The Purposes Covered By The Law.

What Should Employers Do Now? 
As This Effective Date Approaches, Employers Should Review Their Current Paid Time Off, Vacation Or Other Paid Leave Policies To Determine Whether You Will Have To Ratify A Paid-Sick-Time Policy For Any Of Your Employees Or Revise Your Existing Policies To Ensure Compliance. Employers Should Also Inform Managers And Supervisors Of Any New Policy Changes.

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