On May 2, 2018, the governor of New Jersey (“NJ”), Phil Murphy, signed into law the New Jersey Sick Leave Act (the “Act”), a mandatory paid sick-leave law, becoming the tenth state to do so. Employees have the right to take an occasional sick day without losing pay. The Act, effective October 29, 2018, impacts all employers of NJ and requires employers to provide one hour of sick leave for every thirty hours worked, up to forty hours of paid sick leave per year to covered employees. The act supersedes any individual town ordinances.
What is it? Current employees began earning (or accruing) sick time on October 29, 2018 and employees hired after this date begin to accrue sick time on the first date of employment. Employers should have determined their benefit year of 12 consecutive months. Once the benefit year is determined, it cannot be changed unless the NJ Department of Labor (“NJ DOL”) and Workforce Development is informed. Employees began accruing one hour of sick time for every thirty (30) hours worked, with a maximum of forty (40) hours for the year. Employers with existing policies, such as paid time off, personal days, vacation days and sick-days, may be able to satisfy the requirements of the act as long as employees can use the time off as required by the law.
Applies to all employers! The Act applies to any business entity in NJ with one or more employees. With the exception of public employers who are already required to provide their employees with full pay for sick and leave.
What is covered? Employees can use accrued sick time after the 120th day of their first date of employment for the following reasons:
What proof does an employee need for using their sick time?
How much? The dollar amount paid is based on the rate of pay that the employee earns at the time of the payment. If an employer frontloads the entire amount of sick time (gives the employee 40 hours at the start of the benefit year), they must either pay the employee for the full amount of any unused accrued sick time in the final month of the employer’s benefit year or carry forward any unused sick time to the next benefit year.
What do you need to do as an employer?
Employees covered under a Collective Bargaining Agreement- If you have employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that was in effect on October 29, 2018, at least until the agreement expires, these employees are not considered covered employees. Even after expiration of the agreement, employees or their representatives may waive the rights under the act during negotiation of a new agreement.
Important to Note: Employees may sue their employers for violating the act and can seek actual damages suffered as a result of the violation, plus an equal amount of liquidated damages.
Employers should have implemented this policy and be prepared to administer sick leave policies in their daily business. Please reach out to WithumSmith+Brown, PC with any questions.