There is good news for New Jersey employees as the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act will be in effect as of October 29, 2018. It guarantees that almost all of Jersey’s part-time and full-time workers will be ensured paid sick leave of 40 hours per year.
Any entity or person with employees in New Jersey, including small companies and temporary help firms, fall subject to this new law. Workers will accrue one hour of sick pay for every 30 hours they have worked. Alternately, an annual accrual method can be used, where employers give an entire year’s sick leave pay on the initial day of the benefit year.
Once the benefit year is over, employees can carry over unused accrued sick time. However, their employers are not required to let them have or carry over any unused time that exceeds over 40 hours. In some situations, the employer can buy back the unused time. If an employee leaves the company though, that employer is not required to reimburse that employee for any unused sick leave pay.
Sick Time vs. Paid Time Off
Some companies provide paid time off policies, which vary depending on the employer. Paid time off can cover sick days, as well as vacation and personal days. These policies can work in conjunction with the Paid Sick Leave Act, with accrual rates being the same as or possibly greater. Employees should consult their company’s policies to confirm.
The Act details certain parameters that qualify for paid sick days, and some circumstances may overlap into the paid time off category. In other words, the worker does not have to be ill to claim sick leave time. One of the first rules focuses on if the worker or a family member is physically sick, cannot work, and/or needs care. If the employee or family member was victimized by sexual or domestic violence, this can also qualify. Other situations that fall under the Act include time needed off from work to be present at school events and meetings, or if the employee’s workplace or childcare is closed because of an emergency.
Enforcement of Paid Sick Leave Act
All companies in New Jersey should be aware of this new law and ensure that they comply. Employees are protected by New Jersey’s Wage and Hour Law, so employers that violate the Act may end up paying out costly monetary damages, plus lawyer fees. The Act also specifies that employers may not retaliate or discriminate against employees that decide to challenge their paid sick leave benefits.
Considering this new law, companies should make sure that they are up to speed with its regulations. Employee records should be updated, the employees should be formally notified, and management should be trained on the new procedures.
With offices in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County. Call us at (856) 512-1461 or complete an online form today.