New Jersey: Tenth State to Require Paid Sick Leave

New Jersey has become the tenth state to require some form of paid sick leave with the signage of the Earned Sick Leave law set to take effect on October 29, 2018.

This new law preempts all previous municipal ordinances enacted by at least 13 New Jersey municipalities, including Bloomfield, Newark and Trenton.

The newly passed New Jersey Earned Sick Leave makes it easier for NJ employers who now only have to follow one state mandate for paid sick leave.


Which employers must comply:  All employers with employees who work in New Jersey, regardless of size. Exceptions noted are per diem healthcare employees, construction workers employed pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, and public employees who already have sick leave benefits.

Benefits start to accrue on the bill’s effective date (Oct. 29). The law follows other typical state laws in that an employee may accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.

Employers may cap the accrual to 40 hours (five days) of earned sick time in any 12 month consecutive period.  Unused sick leave must carry-over to the next year with a cap of 40 hours, however, the employer can give the employee an option to accept payment for unused sick time.

Employers do not need to pay out any unused sick leave as cash upon termination. Employees must have their unused accrued hours reinstated if they are rehired within six months.

It’s important to note that most employers are more generous than the law requires. However, if you are an employer with employees in New Jersey, please review your sick leave policy to ensure it complies.

Employers that offer paid time off may want to consider their current practice as the earned sick leave act sets forth guidelines on when an employee can use earned sick leave including:

  • 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

Employers may require “reasonable documentation” for absences of three or more days.

Employer Notice Requirements: A notice will be developed that employers must post in the workplace.

The notice must be furnished to the following:

  • Existing employees within 30 days of the notice being drafted
  • New hires upon hire
  • Employees upon request

In addition, the employer must provide each employee a statement showing the amount of the employee’s available earned sick time, at least monthly.

This is most likely already happening with full-time benefit-eligible employees, but it is important to note that this law extends to all employees, regardless of status (including temporary employees).

For more information, please contact me.

About Michelle Cammayo

Michelle Cammayo has more than 13 years of Employee Benefits experience specializing in all lines of health and welfare benefits. Today, Michelle works closely with clients and partners to provide guidance in areas of the law including ERISA, HIPAA, COBRA, FMLA and PPACA. She also oversees the Compliance Department at Bolton & Company to ensure we are helping our clients manage and eliminate risk with regards to employee benefit compliance.

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