On May 2, 2018, the Governor signed a statewide paid sick leave ordinance. The bill will become effective 180 days from signature date, which projected to be October 29, 2018. The following information is contained in the bill, but we expect additional regulations from the State of New Jersey. This bill will preempt all existing local sick leave requirements. Click here to review the bill text.
All employees within the State of New Jersey qualify for sick leave under the Ordinance except for per diem healthcare employees, construction workers employed pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, and public employees who already have sick leave benefits. There is no exemption for employer size under this law so all employers within the state are required to provide sick leave benefits.
SICK LEAVE ACCRUAL AND ENTITLEMENT
Qualifying employees begin to accrue paid sick leave on the bills effective date, or the first day after they start employment, if hired after. Employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers do have the option to frontload 40 hours at the beginning of the calendar year.
Employees can accrue up to 40 hours in a 12-month period and can carry over all accrued, unused sick time up to 40 hours. The employer does have the option to pay out all or partial unused sick time at the end of the 12-month period. If the employee agrees to payment within 10 days from the employers offer then the employer is not required to carry over that time. Also, if the employer chooses to frontload the hours then employers are not required to allow carry over. Employers are permitted to cap the annual use of paid leave at 40 hours per employee.
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.
Employees must have the ability to begin using accrued paid sick leave no later than their 120th calendar day after their employment commences. Employees can use the leave for their own or a family members diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery for the employee’s own mental or physical condition (inclusive of preventive care); diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery for a 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 (including counseling, legal services, or participation in any civil or criminal proceedings related to same); time when the workplace, school, or childcare is closed by order of a public official due to a public health concern; and time to attend a school-related conference or meeting. Family member is defined as any individual whose close associate with the employee is equivalent of a family relationship.
Employees may provide notice as soon as practicable. Businesses also may require the employee to certify that leave is for a qualifying purpose, but only if the employee requires more than three consecutive leave days. Businesses cannot require the certification to specify the nature of the medical issue necessitating the leave.
EXISTING PTO POLICIES
If an employer currently has a policy that grants employees paid time off in a manner consistent with the new requirements, it need not provide additional paid leave. It will, however, need to conform its policy to meet the requirements of this new law.
Covered businesses must conspicuously post a notification in the workplace and provide individual notice to each employee within 30 days after the Department of Labor issues the notification and, thereafter, at the time of each employee’s hiring.
On at least a monthly basis, an employer must provide electronically or in writing to each employee a statement showing the amount of the employee’s available earned sick time. The employer also must maintain records establishing the amount of earned sick time accrued and used by each covered employee.
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This information is provided as a courtesy, may change and is not intended as legal or tax guidance. Employers with questions or concerns outside the scope of a Payroll Service Provider are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified CPA, Tax Attorney or Advisor.