New Jersey Passes Groundbreaking Paid Sick Leave Act

New Jersey’s recently passed Paid Sick Leave Act has gone into effect. The law requires employers to give both full and part-time workers up to 40 hours of paid sick leave that they can use for a variety of reasons, including:

  • When they themselves are sick
  • When a family member is sick
  • When they need to go to a doctor’s appointment for routine medical care
  • When they need to attend a child’s school-related meeting or event

Employees who have previously been restricted from using their sick time for reasons other their own illness will now be able to tend to their own and their families’ medical and school-related need. Prior to the passage of this important new law, many workers have feared job loss when taking time off for these purposes, but as of October 29, 2018, employers who don’t provide the time as prescribed by the law are subject to fines, administrative penalties, and legal action.

Though the law itself is clear cut, employees are entitled to accrue sick leave at a rate of one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked in a benefit year (which may be any period of 12 consecutive months as established by the employer). An employer shall not be required to permit an employee to accrue more than 40 hours of sick leave in a given benefit year. There are certain aspects that are still being finalized, and this leaves some administrative details unclear, but the penalties for falling short of compliance are equivalent to those that apply when employers violate paid sick leave laws. These penalties can be substantial and include the potential for holding owners and officers of noncompliant companies personally liable. Hopefully, all employers willrewrite their sick leave policy to ensure that they are in compliance, but many are failing to do this, and that leaves employees who are denied the right to use this paid time the ability to file charges against their employers. Here is a link to the actual Bill:

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/A2000/1827_R1.PDF

As a New Jersey employee, you are now entitled to this benefit. Additionally, employers are required to carry over unused sick pay or offer you cash at the end of the year, allowing you 10 days in which to make your decision as to your preference. Your employer, in turn, has the right to specify certain times during which the paid sick leave is not available, including high volume business days such as Black Friday, and to determine the increment of time that is available for you to take sick leave in.

Though many aspects of the law remain uncertain and there are likely to be numerous test cases before New Jersey workers and employers fully understand the full ramifications of the law, any employee who feels that they are not receiving the benefits to which they are legally entitled should pursue justice by contacting our New Jersey employment discrimination law firm. Call us today to learn more about your rights and how we can help.

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