New Jersey Becomes 10th State In The Nation To Mandate Paid Sick Leave
Currently, New Jersey has 13 local municipalities requiring employers provide paid sick leave to employees. The writing was on the wall as the trend toward legislating the benefit of paid sick leave became more prevalent throughout the State. Paid sick leave will no longer just be a local legislative mandate but will soon be required State-wide. Effective October 29, 2018 New Jersey private employers will be required to offer paid sick leave to all employees based upon hours worked. Here’s a summary of what every private New Jersey employer needs to know.
What is Required?
For every 30 hours worked, employees must be provided 1 hour of sick leave in the 12 consecutive month benefit year (as determined by the employer) up to a maximum of 40 hours. The law also provides for an optional pay-out or carryover of any accrued but unused sick leave, up to a pre-determined maximum. Employers will be required to provide all employees notice of the new law as well as report their benefit year to the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. Employers must also retain records evidencing compliance with the law for a period of five (5) years.
When can Employees utilize paid sick leave?
Employees must be allowed to utilize paid sick leave for their own care, diagnosis, treatment or recovery from a mental or physical illness/injury or adverse health condition as well as to aid or care for a family member. Sick leave may also be utilized for employees needing time off in connection with a child of the employee to attend a school-related function/conference.
What if an Employer already provides the required time off through a PTO policy?
The good news for employers is that paid time off which is already provided to employees and which covers any of the above stated circumstances is sufficient to be in compliance with the new law. In other words, if you already provide the required amount of paid time off to your employees through your vacation or PTO policy, which can be used for sick time, you are already in compliance with the new law and no change needs to be made to your current policy.
What should Employers do next?
Every employer should review their current paid time off policies to determine first and foremost, if you are already in compliance. If you are not, contact a professional for assistance in drafting a new policy, or amending current policies, to ensure your Company is compliant on October 29, 2018. Ensure you have distributed the required Notice to all employees and notify the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development of your benefit year.
By: Deena B. Rosendahl, Esq.