On May 2, 2018, Governor Murphy signed a law into effect which will provide paid sick leave for employees in New Jersey. This law will go into effect October 2018. Previously, several municipalities enacted their own paid sick leave regulations, but this new Act will supersede these and make regulations state-wide. New Jersey is the tenth state to pass paid sick leave legislation. It is important to know what this means for you and your business.
Starting on October 29, 2018, most New Jersey employees will begin to accrue leave. The accrual rate will be set at a rate of one hour per thirty hours worked. However, this will be capped at a maximum of forty hours per year. Employees will be allowed to accrue unused sick time as long as that accrued time does not exceed forty hours. Employees who accrue sick leave will be entitled to use the accrued leave 120 days after they begin the accrual period. The Act does provide that employers may waive the 120-day period and agree to an earlier date.
Not all employees are eligible for paid sick leave. Workers who are in a collective bargaining agreement in the construction industry, per diem healthcare workers, and public employees are provided sick leave pursuant to other laws, rules, and regulations already in place.
Employees may utilize their sick days for a variety of reasons. An employee may use sick days for not only his or her own health needs, but also the health needs of family members. “Family members” are defined here as “child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent, or grandparent or any other individual related by blood to the employee or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” Employees may also take sick days to deal with issues related to being a victim of domestic or sexual violence. This can include getting medical attention, obtaining services from a domestic violence agency or victim services agency, relocation, or legal services. A parent may also use these days for his or her child’s school-related conference, meeting, function, or other event. If the employee is using the sick day for medical reasons, and is absent for three or more days, an employer has the right to require “reasonable documentation” from a doctor or healthcare professional.
Failure to comply with the new law may bring stiff penalties. The reporting process for non-compliance will be outlined in forthcoming regulations with specific instructions detailing how employees may report malfeasance to the state authorities.
If you have any questions regarding policy changes, preparing your business to provide paid sick leave, or implementing new guidelines, please feel free to contact us at (973) 536-2224 or firstname.lastname@example.org!