New Jersey Legislature has just passed its own statewide Paid Sick Leave law. This state law preempts the numerous county and city paid sick leave ordinances that New Jersey had implemented. This law applies to most private employees (excluding those covered by a CBA). The bill was signed into law on May 2 and is set to take effect in October 2018.
Here is what you need to know:
What Does the New Jersey Paid Sick Law Cover?
Employees may use accrued sick time for the following reasons:
• Diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery for an employee’s own injury or illness, including preventive care.
• Diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery for an employee family member’s injury or illness, including preventive care.
• Circumstances resulting from the employee’s or family member’s status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence. This includes time off to engage with medical services (for both physical and mental injury), victim service organizations, counseling services, relocation, and legal services (including getting a restraining order or participating in a proceeding).
• Time off because of employee workplace closure due to a public health emergency.
• Time off because of employee’s child school or care facility closure due to a public health emergency.
• Time off for the employee to attend a meeting required by a child’s school or to attend a meeting regarding care to the child’s disabilities or health conditions.
A “family member,” according to the law, includes any individual related by blood to the employee as well as anyone who has a familial relationship with the employee.
How Does an Employee Earn Sick Leave?
• For every 30 hours worked, the employee earns 1 hour of paid sick leave time.
• An employee can accrue a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. An employee may carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick leave from one year to the next, but the employer is only required to allow 40 hours of paid sick leave to be used in one year.
• An employee begins accruing sick leave on the first day of employment, but is not eligible to use the accrued sick leave until 120 days after the first day of employment.
May an Employer Require Notice of Intent to Use Sick Leave?
• An employer may require up to 7 days of advanced notice if the need for the leave is foreseeable. If the leave is not foreseeable, the employer may require the employee to notify him or her as soon as practicable.
• An employer may designate certain days that an employer may not use sick leave for, and may require documentation of actual sickness if those dates are used.
Otherwise, an employer may require appropriate documentation of sick leave use if the sick leave is at least 3 consecutive days. Medical documentation, a court order, a law enforcement report, and a letter from a health authority are all examples of appropriate documentation.
What Happens to Sick Leave When an Employee is Transferred or Terminated?
• If an employee is transferred to a different division but is employed by the same employer, all accrued sick time follows him or her and is fully available.
• When a business changes employers, all employees of the original employer that are retained by the new employer keep their accrued sick time.
• When an employee is terminated and re-hired within 6 months, any accrued sick time within six months is given back to the employee for immediate use.
What Are the Employer Notification Requirements?
• The employer must apprise the employees of their rights under this act and the remedies for failure to provide the benefits or for retaliation. The employer must place this notification in a spot easily accessible to all employees (such as a break room).
• Additionally, the employer must provide every current employee with a copy of their paid family leave rights within 30 days of the passage of this law. New employees must be supplied with it immediately.
What Are the Other Employer Prohibitions?
• An employer may not require an employee find a replacement while he or she is out on paid sick leave.
• An employer may not require an employee work extra hours (either before or after the paid sick leave) to make up for work missed.
• An employer may not retaliate against an employee in any way for the desire to use or the use of sick leave.
• An employer may not relay any information relating to the employee or family member’s illness or assault to any other person: it must be treated as confidential.
For more information about how this can impact you contact us today.