NJ Set to Pass Sick Leave LawOn April 23, 2018 by Schnader in schnaderworks.com
By Jo Bennett
On April 12, the New Jersey Senate passed the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act. The New Jersey Assembly had passed the bill in March, and Governor Phil Murphy is expected to sign it shortly. The law requires nearly all private employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees per benefit year. The Act exempts public employees, who already have sick leave benefits, as well as per diem healthcare employees and construction workers covered by collective bargaining agreements. However, small businesses are not exempt.
Under the law, employers must establish a benefit year and allow employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave at a rate of one benefit hour per 30 hours worked. Employees may use sick time for a family member’s health issues or to attend a school-related conference, as well as for their own health issues. Carrying sick time over to a new benefit year is not required nor is paying out unused sick time upon the employee’s separation. However, employers will be required to document hours worked and sick leave used by employees and to retain these records for five years. The Act also provides a method for employees to sue for damages for alleged violations of the law. The Act expressly preempts local sick leave ordinances passed by municipalities such as Newark and Trenton.
The Act will take effect 180 days after the Governor signs it into law. In light of the Bill’s imminent passage, New Jersey employers should review their sick leave or paid time off policies to ensure compliance with the new law.