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  • Writer's picturePeter Lamont, Esq.

Understanding New Jersey's Earned Sick Leave Law: A Guide for Employers

In recent years, New Jersey has taken significant steps to ensure workers access essential benefits, including earned sick leave. The New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law requires most employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. As an employer in New Jersey, it's crucial to understand the nuances of this law to ensure compliance and support your employees.

Who is Covered?

The law applies to nearly all employers in New Jersey, regardless of size. It covers most employees, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers. There are few exceptions, such as certain construction employees under a collective bargaining agreement and per-diem healthcare employees.


Accrual of Sick Leave

Employees earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours in a benefit year. Employers can also offer 40 hours of sick leave upfront at the beginning of the benefit year.


Use of Earned Sick Leave

Employees can use their accrued sick leave 120 days after their employment starts. They can use this leave for:

  • Personal or a family member's illness, injury, or adverse health condition.

  • Attending a school-related conference, meeting, or event.

  • Time off due to domestic or sexual violence affecting the employee or a family member.

  • Closure of the workplace or child's school due to a public health emergency.

Carry Over and Payout

Employees can carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick leave to the next benefit year. However, employers are not required to provide more than 40 hours of sick leave in a single benefit year. Alternatively, employers can offer employees a payout for unused sick leave in the final month of the benefit year.


Record Keeping

Employers must maintain records documenting hours worked and sick leave taken by employees for a period of five years. If an employer fails to maintain or retain these records, it's presumed they have violated the law, unless they can prove otherwise.


Notice and Posting Requirements

Employers must:

  • Notify employees of their rights under this law, including posting the notification in a conspicuous place.

  • Provide employees with a written copy of the notice.

  • Distribute the notice to new employees at the time of hiring.

Prohibitions and Protections

Employers cannot retaliate or discriminate against an employee for requesting or using earned sick leave. They also cannot require employees to find replacements for their shifts during their absence.

Do You Have an Employee Handbook for Your Business with a PTO Policy?

  • YES

  • NO

Interaction with Other Leave Policies

If an employer already has a paid time off (PTO) policy that offers an equal or greater amount of leave and meets the conditions of the Earned Sick Leave Law, they don't need to provide additional sick leave.


Documentation

New Jersey law allows employers to require reasonable documentation if an employee uses earned sick leave on three or more consecutive workdays or specific dates specified by the employer. The law prohibits employers from requiring employees to specify the medical reason for the leave.


Conclusion

The New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law represents a significant shift in the state's approach to worker rights and benefits. As an employer, staying informed and proactive in implementing these changes is not just about compliance but also about creating a supportive work environment. Regularly reviewing and updating your policies can help ensure that you're not only adhering to the law but also fostering a culture of care and understanding.


Download the NJ Sick Leave Policy Handout

NJ Sick Leave Handout
.pdf
Download PDF • 210KB

Do you have questions about the legal issues discussed in this post? If so, contact us today at our Bergen County Office. Call Us at (201) 904-2211 or email Us at info@pjlesq.com

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If you would like more information about this post or if you want to discuss your legal matter with an attorney at the Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont, please contact me at pl@pjlesq.com or at (201) 904-2211. Don't forget to check out and subscribe to our podcast and YouTube channel. We have hundreds of podcasts and videos concerning a variety of business and legal topics. I look forward to answering any questions that you might have.

About Peter Lamont, Esq.

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As with any legal issue, it is important that you obtain competent legal counsel before making any decisions about how to respond to a subpoena or whether to challenge one - even if you believe that compliance is not required. Because each situation is different, it may be impossible for this article to address all issues raised by every situation encountered in responding to a subpoena. The information below can give you guidance regarding some common issues related to subpoenas, but you should consult with an attorney before taking any actions (or refraining from acts) based on these suggestions. Separately, this post will focus on New Jersey law. If you receive a subpoena in a state other than New Jersey, you should immediately seek the advice of an attorney in your state, as certain rules differ in other states.

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