New Law: New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Takes Effect on October 29th

New Jersey has a new paid sick leave law that becomes effective on October 29, 2018.

The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act, signed into law in May by Governor Murphy, guarantees that almost every person working in New Jersey will accrue, or accumulate, paid sick leave. It doesn’t matter what the size of the employer is, so small businesses and even temporary help service firms are covered.

How Paid Sick Leave Is Accrued

The Act provides for two methods by which employers can track accrued paid sick leave:

  • Accrual method. Employees earn sick leave at the rate of one hour for every thirty hours worked, OR

  • Annual method. Employers may provide employees with full earned sick leave on the first day of each benefit year.  

No matter which accrual method is used, employers do not have to allow an employee to accrue, use or carry forward more than 40 hours of earned sick leave. At the end of each benefit year, the employee can carry forward their earned sick time or release it to be purchased by the employer. 

Using Paid Sick Leave

Employees may use earned sick time for many reasons, some of which include:

  • The employee’s medical needs

  • Medical needs of the employee’s family members

  • Needs such as absences, treatment and counseling arising from the employee or a family member being a victim of domestic or sexual violence

  • Closure of the employee’s workplace, childcare or school because of a public health emergency

  • Time required to attend a school conference, meeting, function or other event

In other words, use of the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act is not strictly limited to “sick” leave.

Beginning October 29, 2018, current employees will begin to accrue sick leave. Those hired after October 29 will begin to accrue sick leave beginning on their hire date. Employees may use the sick leave beginning on the 120th day after their employment began.

Retaliation by an employer against an employee who requests or uses earned sick leave is specifically forbidden in the Act.

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