Effective October 29, 2018, all companies in New Jersey must implement paid sick leave for their employees, according to the NJ Paid Sick Leave Law. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about what this means and what needs to be done by Monday.
Who is covered by the new law?
All W-2 employees are covered, including Part-time, Temporary, Seasonal, Exempt, and Non-exempt employees are eligible for paid sick leave at the rate of 1 hour paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. If an employee is covered by a collective bargaining agreement that is effective on October 29, 2018, they begin to accrue earned sick leave under this new law beginning on the date that the agreement expires. Independent contractors are NOT required to be offered paid sick leave.
What counts as sick leave?
- Diagnosis, treatment, and/or recovery from mental or physical illness, injury.
- Health treatment for themselves or their family member.
- Preventative medical care.
- Domestic or sexual abuse to the employee or their family member.
- Closure of the workplace, school, or childcare facility issued by a public health authority due to a public health emergency.
- School conferences/meetings.
Who is a family member under NJ Paid Sick Leave?
The state has left the definition of family member very broad. Essentially, the employee is allowed to define family as it relates to them.
Where are our options for implementing the change?
Companies have two options for implementing NJ Paid Sick Leave.
- Front load 5 days (40 hours) paid sick leave per year.
- Track accrued leave at 1 hour of sick leave earned for every 30 hours worked, capped at 5 days per year.
How do we need to compensate our employees?
Employees should be compensated at the same pay rate and benefits they receive for their standard time worked. For employees who are commission only or receive rates on a piece-rate basis, they must be paid based on an average of past earnings or a mutually agreed upon rate that is at or above minimum wage.
Employees are not allowed to use sick time (i.e. receive compensation) in excess of their typical work hours within the span of time that they are absent.
What happens if my employee doesn’t use all of their sick days?
If an employee decides not to use their earned sick leave allotted per year, they have the option to either carry forward up to 5 days to the following year or be paid out for unused sick days.
What do we need to do next as the employer?
- New employees must receive the official written notice when they begin employment. Existing employees must receive by November 29, 2018.
- The official written notice must be posted in a conspicuous and accessible place at all work sites.
- Copies of the official written notice must be presented to employees upon request.
- Employers need to decide how employees take their sick leave (i.e. ½ days vs full day, or both).
- Employers are required retain documentation for 5 years.
- Employers can select ‘blackout dates’ when employees cannot take foreseeable sick leave.