New Jersey’s New Paid Sick Leave law- how does it affect your small business?

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a very comprehensive Paid Sick Leave bill into law on May 2, 2018. It will take effect 180 days from its signing which will be in October 2018. This new law is extremely pro-employee and will make it one of the most expansive laws of its type in our Nation. Presently, only nine other states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring paid sick time off, as paid time off is merely a benefit offered to employees nationwide. This law supports Governor Murphy’s campaign promises and vows to support working New Jersey families thus strengthening the state’s economic landscape.

The new law mandates that workers accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked for up to 40 hours each year at a minimum. This sick leave can be used after the employee works 120 days that year but employers can permit it to be used sooner. Employers may implement more liberal policies that permit additional sick leave or less stringent time requirements.

Under the bill, employees may use paid sick leave for the following reasons, which includes using said paid time off for family members as defined:

*time off needed for diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery  from, an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or for preventive medical care for the employee;

*time off needed for the employee to aid or care for a family member of the employee during diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, the family member’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or during preventive medical care for the family member;

*absence necessary due to circumstances resulting from the employee, or a family member of the employee, being a victim of domestic or sexual violence, if the leave is to allow the employee to obtain for the employee or the family member: medical attention needed to recover from physical or psychological injury or disability caused by domestic or sexual violence; services from a designated domestic violence agency or other victim services organization; psychological or other counseling; relocation; or legal services, including obtaining a restraining order or preparing for, or participating in, any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to the domestic or sexual violence;

*time off during which the employee is not able to work because of a closure of the employee’s workplace, or the school or place of care of a child of the employee, by order of a public official due to an epidemic or other public health emergency, or because of the issuance by a public health authority of a determination that the presence in the community of the employee, or a member of the employee’s family in need of care by the employee, would jeopardize the health of others; or

*time off needed by the employee in connection with a child of the employee to attend a school-related conference, meeting, function or other event requested or required by a school administrator, teacher, or other professional staff member responsible for the child’s education, or to attend a meeting regarding care provided to the child in connection with the child’s health conditions or disability.

From a practical standpoint, if an employer offers paid time off in its current policy, which is fully paid and shall include, but is not limited to, personal days, vacation days, and sick days, and is accrued at a rate equal to or greater than the rate described in this section then that type of paid time off policy is in compliance with the law.

Feel free to reach out to DEMLP if you need assistance in complying with this new law.