The procrastinator’s guide to figuring out New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave law

Fortunately, for those of you who continue to kick the can on complying with New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave law, it’s only been in effect for two days now.

I mean, how much paid sick leave could someone have actually accrued since Monday? Hmmm…

If you want to know more about the law, I blogged about that back in May.

Then, the State issued some proposed regulations. They may not become final before the end of the year, but let’s assume that what you see now is going to be pretty close to what you are going to get.

Also, here is a poster that you’ll want to laminate and hang with the rest of those shiny jawns in the breakroom.

And, most recently, the State released answers to frequently asked questions.

By sheer coincidence, this FAQ hits on some of the “hypothetical questions” that attendees at recent HR conferences at which I have spoken have asked “for a friend.”

Uh, yeah.

So, let’s try to answer some of these questions:

Must an employer based outside of New Jersey provide earned sick leave to employees who work in New Jersey?
Yes. Out-of-state employers with employees in New Jersey must provide earned sick leave to its employees who work in New Jersey.

May an employer have a different benefit year for each employee based on that employee’s anniversary date?
No. The employer is required to establish a single benefit year for all employees.

Is the employer required to provide notice to the Commissioner of the initial establishment of a benefit year?
No. An employer need not provide notice to the Commissioner of the initial establishment of a benefit year. Notice to the Commissioner is required only for proposed changes in the benefit year.

Is an employee who works both within New Jersey and outside of New Jersey entitled to receive earned sick leave?
It depends. (Editor’s Note: “Hey, that’s my line, dammit!) The answer to the question depends largely on how much time the employee spends working in New Jersey. If the employee routinely performs some work in New Jersey and the employee’s base of operations or the place from which such work is directed and controlled is in New Jersey, then the employee is entitled to receive earned sick leave under the Earned Sick
Leave Law.  

May an employer prorate advanced earned sick leave for the remainder of the benefit year if an employee commences employment during a benefit year?
Yes. An employer may prorate advanced earned sick leave for the remainder of the benefit year if an employee commences employment during a benefit year, so long as the employer tracks the hours that the employee actually works during the remainder of the benefit year and the amount of resulting earned sick leave accrual, so that in the event the employee works more hours than anticipated, the employer will have sufficient information to allow for the addition of accrued earned sick leave to the already advanced earned sick leave up to the maximum of 40 hours. To avoid tracking accruals, the employer would need to advance the full 40 hours of earned sick leave.

May an employer advance 40 hours of earned sick leave to its full-time employees, but use the accrual method for its part-time employees?
Yes. The employer does have that option.

How much earned sick leave must an employer permit an employee to use?
The employer shall not be required to permit the employee to use more than 40 hours of earned sick leave in any benefit year.

If an employee gets sick in the middle of a scheduled vacation, may the employee use earned sick leave?
No. The employee may not claim this time as earned sick leave because the employee was not scheduled to work during the vacation.

May employees use sick leave during overtime that they were required to work?
Yes. An employer must allow an employee to use earned sick leave for any overtime hours that the employee was scheduled to work.

Can an employee’s use of earned sick leave be counted toward leave entitlements under other laws?
Yes. An employee’s use of earned sick leave may be counted toward concurrent leave under federal or state law, such as the FMLA and the NJFLA.

Can other PTO policies satisfy the requirements of the earned sick leave law?
Yes, so long as the PTO meets or exceeds all of the requirements of the earned sick leave law and may be used for the purposes listed within the earned sick leave law. For example, some employers allow employees PTO for other purposes, such as vacation or personal leave. The employer is not required to provide additional time designated for earned sick leave if the vacation or personal leave days may be used for earned sick leave and the employer’s policy meets all requirements of the law.

Ayo, the FAQ includes other wonky fact patterns that may answer other lingering questions at “your friend’s” company. So, I suggest you take a few minutes and check it out.

 

 

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