New Jersey Governor Murphy Signs Paid Sick Leave Law

New Jersey Governor Murphy Signs Paid Sick Leave Law

On May 2, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Earned Sick and Safe Days Act which requires all New Jersey employers to provide earned sick leave to its employees working in New Jersey.  The law becomes effective October 29, 2018.

Although 13 municipalities in New Jersey currently have paid sick leave laws, this new law will preempt them beginning October 29, 2018.  New Jersey employees will be able to accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours each year.  Employers may provide the earned sick leave at the beginning of the benefit year.  If an employer offers paid time off (vacation, sick and personal days), it may be in compliance if it offers accrued time off at a rate greater than the rate required by the law and allows for the time to be used for the purposes that are spelled out by the law.  The law does not require employers to pay an employee for accrued but unused sick leave upon termination of employment.

New employees may begin using accrued sick leave after they have completed 120 days of work for the employer or sooner if the employer agrees to an earlier date.

Earned sick leave may be used for:

  • Diagnosis, care, treatment, recovery for an employee’s mental or physical illness or preventative care of the employee
  • Diagnosis, care, treatment or recovery for a family member’s mental or physical illness or preventative care of the family member
  • Time off due to circumstances resulting from domestic or sexual violence against the employee or employee’s family member
  • Time off due to closure of an employee’s workplace or place of care of employee’s child due to an epidemic or other public health emergency
  • Time to attend a school-related conference, meeting or event of the employee’s child

Employers may not discriminate or take any retaliatory action against an employee for using or requesting paid sick leave.   Also, employers are not permitted from considering the use of earned sick leave for disciplinary action or termination.