May 29, 2018
New Jersey adopted the
Paid Sick Leave Act
(the Act) on March 12. The Act requires New Jersey employers to give employees one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked for a minimum of 40 hours. Employers have the option of providing 40 hours leave as of the first day of employment or on an accrual basis. Employers can set a 120-day waiting period before new employees can use the leave.
An employer is defined as “any person, firm, business, educational institution, nonprofit agency, corporation, limited liability company, or other entity that employs employees in the State, including a
temporary help service firm.” A public employer “that is required to provide its employees with sick
leave with full pay pursuant to any other law, rule or regulation” of New Jersey is excluded.
Employees of temporary service firms “accrue paid sick leave on the basis of the total time worked on assignment with the temporary help services firm, not separately for each client firm to which the employee is assigned.”
The Act is effective October 29, 2018, and preempts local paid sick ordinances in 13 New Jersey municipalities. Vacation time, personal days, and other paid time off counts towards the 40 hour requirement. Paid time off can be used for the employee’s personal needs or that of a family member. Employers can require advanced written notice in certain circumstances or documentation from the appropriate care giver/professional if three or more consecutive days are taken off.
To be in compliance, nearly all companies, regardless of size, must:
- Provide 40 hours of paid sick leave per year to all full and part time employees (exceptions apply).
- Allow employees to accrue time off at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.
- Accrue leave for employees on the later of their employment date or the law’s effective date (October 29, 2018).
- Pay employees for earned sick leave at the same rate of pay with the same benefits as employees normally earn, unless it is less than the minimum wage.
- Allow employees to carry forward to the next year unused paid sick time.
- Accrue more than 40 hours of paid leave during a benefit period (consecutive 12 month period determined by the employer).
- Pay employees for unused sick time when they leave the company.
The Act excludes:
- Per diem healthcare workers.
- Construction workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
- Non-construction employees covered by a CBA on October 29, 2018. The Act will apply once the CBA expires. Employees and their representatives can elect to waive their rights under the Act and address paid leave in CBA negotiations.