Governor Murphy Signs Statewide Paid Sick and Safe Leave Bill
By Lisa Calick, SPHR
Governor Murphy has signed a Paid Sick Leave Law, which will now require New Jersey employers of all sizes to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees each year. Several municipalities already have existing ordinances requiring similar leave, however this new act will preempt those individual ordinances and provide a uniform benefit requirement statewide. The new law will take effect 180 days from the date signed, and will cover employers of all sizes.
Businesses will establish a benefit year during which employees may accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave, at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Companies may instead opt to frontload the entire amount of paid sick time at the start of the benefit year. Businesses may also meet this requirement by offering a paid time-off (PTO) policy which would need to provide equal or greater benefits as those required by the act.
The act covers all private employees, regardless of number of hours worked, with the exception of per diem healthcare workers and construction workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
Employees may use the accrued leave for the following reasons:
- Diagnosis, care, treatment or recovery of the employee’s, or family member’s, mental or physical condition, including preventive care
- Time needed as a result of an employee’s or family member’s status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence
- Time when the workplace, school or childcare is closed by order of a public official due to public health concern
- Time to attend a school-related conference or meeting
Unused sick time must carry over to the following year unless the employer opts to pay out unused sick time at the end of the year. Unless an employee already has accrued sick time prior to the effective date of the law, accruals will begin on the date the law takes effect. Employees hired after the effective date will begin to accrue sick leave upon date of hire. Employees will be eligible to use paid sick time after 120 calendar days of employment, unless employers decide to allow eligibility earlier.
Employers may not take any retaliatory action against any employee in connection with a request or use of earned sick leave.
The act requires all employers to maintain records documenting hours worked and sick leave used by employees, for a period of five years. The Department of Labor is developing a notice which businesses must post in the workplace. Additionally the notice must be provided to each employee within 30 days after the Department of Labor issues the notification and, thereafter, at the time of each employee’s hiring.
Companies should review their existing time off policies, and recordkeeping procedures, to make sure they are set to comply with the new law.
As a mentor to our clients, Lisa Calick, SPHR is responsible for providing HR solutions to both colleagues and clients, helping to strengthen operational processes, allowing them time to focus on their core strategic goals. Reach Lisa at 973.577.2877 or firstname.lastname@example.org.