General Overview of Paid Sick Leave Law
- With limited exceptions, all employers are required to provide paid sick leave to each part-time and full-time employee working in the State.
- Exceptions: see definitions of “Employee” and “Employer” in bill.
- And employee shall accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
- An employer shall not be required to permit an employee to accrue or use in any benefit year, or carry forward from one benefit year to the next, more than 40 hours of earned sick leave.
- Unless employees have accrued sick leave prior to October 29, the earned sick leave shall begin to accrue on October 29th.
- Employees shall be eligible to use their earned sick leave on the 120th calendar day after employee commences employment unless the employer agrees to an earlier date.
- Employers shall be in compliance with the law if the employer offers paid time off policies that employees are permitted to use for the purposes of this law and is accrued at a rate equal to or greater than the rate described in the law.
- Employers may choose the increments in which employees may use their sick leave.
- Employers shall permit employees to use their leave for:
- Time needed for diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from an employee’s own mental or physical illness, injury, or condition, or, for their preventative care;
- The diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery from a family member’s own mental or physical illness, injury or condition, or for their preventative care;
- To deal with domestic violence or sexual assault experienced by an employee, or experienced by one of their family members;
- If any employee’s place of business, or their child’s school, or place of care has been closed by order of a public official for any health-related reason;
- If a public official has determined that an employee or member of their family could jeopardize the health of others; and,
- For an employee to attend a school-related conference, meeting, function, or other event, or to attend a meeting to discuss the child’s health conditions or disability.
- If an employee’s need is foreseeable, an employer may require advance notice, not to exceed seven calendar days prior to the date the leave is to begin and the employee should make a reasonable effort to schedule the use of earned sick leave in a manner that does not unduly disrupt employer operations.
- Employers may prohibit employees from using foreseeable earned sick leave on certain dates, and require reasonable documentation if sick leave that is not foreseeable is used during those dates.
- An employer may provide an offer to an employee for a payment of unused earned sick leave in the final month of the employer’s benefit year.
- If an employee agrees to receive a payment, the employee shall choose, no later than 10 calendar days from the date of the employer’s offer, whether to accept or not.
- If employee accepts they shall choose a payment for the full amount of unused earned sick leave or for 50 percent of the amount of unused earned sick leave.
- If employee declines a payment for unused sick leave or agrees to a payment of 50 percent of the amount of unused sick leave, the employee shall be entitled to carry forward any unused or unpaid earned sick leave to the proceeding benefit year.
- No employer shall take retaliatory personnel action or discriminate against an employee because the employee requests or uses earned sick leave either in accordance with this act or the employer’s own sick leave policy.
- There is a rebuttable presumption of an unlawful retaliatory personnel action whenever an employer takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of when that employee:
- Files a complaint with the department or court alleging a violation of any provision of the law;
- Informs a person about an employer’s alleged violation;
- Cooperates with the department or other persons in the investigation or prosecution of any alleged violation;
- Opposes any policy, practice, or act that is unlawful under this section; or,
- Informs any person of his or her rights under this section.
- Any failure of an employer to make available or pay earned sick leave as required under this law is subject to penalties provided by the NJ State Wage and Hour Law
- Employers shall retain records documenting hours worked by employees and earned sick leave taken by employees for a period of five years, and shall upon demand, allow the department access to those records to monitor compliance with the requirements of the act.
- If an employer fails to keep records it shall be presumed that the employer has failed to provide the earned sick leave, absent clear and convincing evidence otherwise.
- Employers shall provide notification, in a form issued by the commissioner, to employees of their rights under this act.
- The law preempts all municipal ordinances.
- The law does not supersede collective bargaining rights for employees.