Paid sick leave is available to every employee (hourly, salaried, full-time, part-time).
This law preempts every local ordinance in New Jersey.
Every employer, regardless of size, must provide paid sick leave.
Employees will accrue one hour of paid time off for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 40 hours and can begin using the time after 120 days of employment. E.g. An employee’s hiring date is June 1st. They will start to accrue their time as soon as they start working but cannot start using their time until September 29th.
Employees can use their paid sick time for their own use, or to take care of a family member. A family member is defined as:
A child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent, or grandparent of an employee
A spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner of a parent or grandparent of the employee
A sibling of a spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner of the employee
Any other individual related by blood to the employee or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship
If an employer already offers a minimum of 40 hours’ worth of paid time off, the employer is in compliance with this law. As long as employees can use their time for the purposes cited under the law, different terminology may be used (e.g. personal days, vacation days, sick days, PTO).
Employers must pay employees at the same rate of pay they normally receive. For those employers with tipped employees, the state-mandated minimum wage of $8.60 must be paid, as opposed to the tipped wage of $2.13. Employers do not need to pay on tips, just the state minimum wage.
Upon mutual consent, the employee may voluntarily choose to work additional hours or shifts during the same pay period, but an employer cannot require it.
Employers may choose the increments in which the time off may be taken (full days, half days, etc.).
Employers cannot mandate that their employees take more time than they are already scheduled to work. E.g. If someone is scheduled for a six-hour shift, an employer cannot mandate they take eight hours of paid time off.
No employee can accrue more than 40 hours of paid sick time. If the employee doesn’t use any time, the 40 hours can be carried over but additional time cannot be accrued.
Why Time Can Be Used
Employees may use their time to take care of themselves or family members due to illnesses, preventative healthcare, domestic violence situations, or school-related functions/meetings/conferences as they relate to a child’s health condition or disability.
Notification & Use
If an employee’s need to take the time is foreseeable (e.g. a doctor’s appointment) the employer may require advance notice (not to exceed seven days). If it is not foreseeable, employers may require notice as soon as possible.
Employers may prohibit employees from using foreseeable sick time on certain dates and times, e.g. Mother’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Fourth of July. If unforeseeable time is taken, you may require documentation of why the time was taken.
An important note: If the need for the time is due to a domestic violence situation, documentation from the public official or professional will be deemed as proper notification. Also, any information regarding domestic violence shall be treated as confidential and cannot be disclosed by the employer without written permission by the employee.
Payout of Time
You may offer an employee a payment for unused time in the final month of the employer’s benefit year. Offering a payout option is at the discretion of the employer. If you do choose to offer, the employee must choose to accept or decline payment no later than 10 days after the payout offer.
If an employee agrees to the payment, they shall choose either the full amount or 50% of the amount. Again, the rate of pay for tipped employees is the state minimum wage of $8.60, not the tipped wage of $2.13.
If an employee declines a payment or agrees to receiving 50% of the amount of unused time, the employee shall be entitled to take forward any unused or unpaid sick time to the proceeding or next benefit year. If they accept the full amount for their unused time, they cannot carry over any time to the next benefit year and must start accruing again at the same rate and formula.
If any employee is terminated, laid off, or separated from the company for more six months, they cannot carry their time forward.
Retaliatory Action or Discrimination
Employers cannot discriminate or take retaliatory action against an employee for taking their accrued sick time unless it is used for purposes other than allowed by the law or taken not in proper accordance with the law (e.g. notification and blackout dates).
Employers who violate this law are subjected to penalties and fines under the wage and hour law and may be liable for damages.
Employers shall retain records documenting the hours worked and earned sick leave for five years. If a claim by an employee is made and you do not have the proper records, it will be presumed you have failed to provide the earned sick leave. Keep records.
Employers must provide notification of this regulation in a form issued by the DOL commissioner to employees and shall be posted in a place accessible to all employees. They must also provide a written copy of the notification at the time of hiring or 30 days after the DOL commission notification is issued.
The form will be offered in English, Spanish, and other common languages in New Jersey.
This law does not supersede a collective bargaining agreement.