“California, hold my drink,” said New Jersey. (A post about paid sick leave) – UPDATE

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Image Credit: Pixabay.com (https://pixabay.com/en/nurse-temperature-thermometer-309731/)

[UPDATED (12:30 PM Eastern): I made a few mistakes in the original post that I am correcting now. First, the link to the paid sick leave law was to a prior version of the law. I corrected that with an updated link. Second, employees can accrue a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave per year, not 72 as mentioned in the original post. I have corrected that as well. I apologize for the mistakes and any confusion they may have created. I also clarified the accrual rules. Fortunately, the new law doesn’t take effect for 180 days. So, there is still time to prepare.]

On the heels of passing the strongest equal pay law in the entire nation, New Jersey has outdone itself.

California, eat your heart out. New Jersey has done it again by passing a new law requiring paid sick leave for employees.

New Jersey has become the ninth state to enact paid sick leave to provide earned compensation for workers who miss work due to illness or needing to take care of a sick loved one.

Give me some specifics, Eric.

Ok, here’s what the law requires:

  • Each employer shall provide earned sick leave to each employee working for the employer in the State.
  • For every 30 hours worked, the employee shall accrue one hour of earned sick leave.
  • Maximum carryover is 40 hours of earned sick leave.

And here is how accrual works:

Unless the employee has accrued earned sick leave prior to the effective date of this act, the earned sick leave shall begin to accrue on the effective date of this act for any employee who is hired and commences employment before the effective date of this act and the employee shall be eligible to use the earned sick leave beginning on the 120th calendar day after the employee commences employment, and if the employment commences after the effective date of this act, the earned sick leave shall begin to accrue upon the date that employment commences and the employee shall be eligible to use the earned sick leave beginning on the 120th calendar day after the employee commences employment, unless the employer agrees to an earlier date.  The employee may subsequently use earned sick leave as soon as it is accrued.

Here’s more from the press release from the Office of the Governor:

Employees may use paid sick leave for the following:

  • Diagnosis, treatment, or recovery from a mental or physical illness or injury, or preventive care, for the employee or a family member
  • Obtaining services if the employee or a family member is a victim of domestic or sexual violence
  • Circumstances arising from a public health emergency
  • A school-related meeting or event with regard to the employee’s child

The employer can require advance notice for sick leave that is foreseeable. (Editor’s Note: Good luck with that!) There’s also an anti-retaliation provision.

NJ employers, don ‘t wait until it’s too late.

Look, between the new equal pay law, #metoo, and paid sick leave, NJ employers will have a full plate very soon. You may need help tackling some or all of these issues. If so, consider seeking it out sooner rather than later. The damages for violating these local laws can be crushing.

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”