16 Oct NJ Sick Leave Law Going Into Effect October 29, 2018
New Jersey has become the 10th state to adopt mandatory paid sick leave. It goes into effect on October 29, 2018. The state sick leave law overrules all municipal ordinances. Employers who have already have a leave policy in place are free to continue to use that policy so long as it is at least as generous as what is required by the state. They should, however, be sure to comply with the state’s notice requirements.
All New Jersey employers, regardless of size, must provide employees with paid sick leave. The only employees exempt from the law are construction workers subject to a collective bargaining agreement, per diem healthcare workers, and those employed by a public agency who receive sick leave through another program.
Accrual and Carryover
All employees, whether temporary, part-time, full-time, salaried, hourly, or paid on commission, must accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers may cap an employee’s sick leave accrual and use at 40 hours per benefit year.
The employer and employee may mutually agree to a payout in the final month of the benefit year of 50% or 100% of the employee’s unused sick time. If unused time is paid out in full, carryover is not required. If 50% is paid out, the remaining 50% will carry over. If the employee does not want to be paid out, or the employer chooses not to offer this option, all unused time will carry over up to 40 hours.
Employers may grant sick leave up front in a lump sum. When using the lump sum method, employers may either pay employees for unused sick leave at the end of the calendar year or allow carryover. With lump sum plans, whether to pay out or allow carryover is the employer’s choice – the agreement of the employee is not required. In no case will time be forfeit, unless it is in excess of the carryover limit of 40 hours.
Employees are eligible to use leave on their 120th day of employment. Sick time may be used for the following:
- Diagnosis, care, treatment of, or recovery from an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, or for preventive health care;
- Diagnosis, care, treatment of, or recovery from a family member’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, or for preventive health care;
- In the case of certain public health emergencies; or
- When time off is needed because the employee or a member of their family is a victim of domestic or sexual violence.
- To attend a school-related conference or meeting.
Employers may set increments of use (e.g., one hour or four hours) but may not require an employee to use more time than they were scheduled to work during the shift they are missing. Employees may not be required to find their own replacement for a missed shift.
Employers may require reasonable documentation, such as a doctor’s note, if the employee uses sick leave for sickness or injury for three or more consecutive days.
If the need for leave is foreseeable, employers may require up to seven days’ notice.
When sick leave is used, it must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, but not less than the applicable minimum wage. Unused sick leave does not need to be paid out at the end of employment. Employees rehired within six months must be credited with their previously accrued and unused paid sick leave and allowed to use it immediately.
Notice to Employees
Employers must post a notice that has been produced by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development (See link to notice), as well as provide that notice to each employee individually, no later than 30 days after the notice is made public. Employees hired after this time should be given the notice upon hire.
Digit has developed an NJ Sick Pay accrual which mirrors the requirements of the State. This NJ Sick Pay accrual will be added to all of Digit’s NJ clients. Our clients may utilize this accrual or continue to use their current PTO policy assuming their current policy complies with the new law. Please contact your payroll specialist for more information.