On October 29, 2018, the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (N.J.S.A. 34:11D-1 et seq.) went into effect.  This law preempts all local laws regarding paid sick leave.  Under the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act, employers must provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked, up to forty hours per benefit year.  Unless an employee has already accrued sick leave prior to October 29, 2018, the employee will begin to accrue paid sick time on that date.  The law applies to all employees, except construction employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, per diem health care employees, and public employees who are provided paid sick leave under state law.  Additionally, unions may waive the rights or benefits under the Act during the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement. 

Under the Act, employers may offer paid personal time off in amounts that meet or exceed the act to meet the requirements of the law.  Further, the Act does not require employers to pay for accrued sick time at the time of an employee’s termination, resignation, or retirement, unless required by an employer policy or collective bargaining agreement.  Employers may require advance notice of foreseeable sick leave, or notice as soon as practicable.  However, the Act prohibits retaliation against any employee who requests or uses sick time in accordance with the Act. 

Pursuant to the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act, employees may use paid sick leave for various reasons including their own medical care; to care for a family member’s medical needs; medical attention or services required as a result of domestic violence; public health emergencies; and to attend a school-related conference, meeting, function or other event requested or required by the employee’s child’s teacher or school administrator.  Employees may be subject to discipline for using sick time for reasons other than those set forth in the Act.

Employers should be aware of the Act’s requirements and should ensure that their policies comply with the Act.  Further, employers must notify their employees of the benefits of the Act and must post the New Jersey Department of Labor’s Notice of Employee Rights in the workplace.

For more information on the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act or other labor and employment matters, please contact Nicole Grzeskowiak at ngrzeskowiak@hoaglandlongo.com or (732) 545-4717.