The New Jersey Assembly has voted in favor of a bill requiring all New Jersey employers to provide some form of paid sick leave to its employees. The bill requires employers of all sizes to provide paid sick leave to its workers. Although many municipalities within the State have already passed local legislation requiring paid sick leave, if passed New Jersey would join a small group of states (California, Connecticut and Massachusetts) which require employers to offer paid sick leave.
Under the bill, employees of a business with 10 or more employees would earn at least 72 hours of paid time off per year to be used not just for their own illness, but to take care of sick relatives as well. Employees of a business with fewer than 10 employees would be offered at least 40 hours of sick time.
An employer who already offers any other fully paid leave that may be used for sick time and which is accrued at a rate equal to or greater than the rate required by the new law will be considered to be in compliance with the new law. In other words, Employers who have adopted a general “Paid Time Off” policy (PTO), accrued as a rate equal to the new law, and which permits employees to use PTO for their own illness or to care for sick relatives will not be required to implement a separate or additional paid sick leave policy.
The Bill also forbids employers from retaliating against employees who avail themselves of the benefit. Employers will not be permitted to count any earned sick leave taken under the law as an absence that may result in the employee being subject to discipline, discharge, demotion, suspension, a loss or reduction of pay, or any other adverse action.
We will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed new law. For questions regarding how this law affects your business, please contact Deena B. Rosendahl, Esq. via email or 201-947-8855.