Answers to Questions Asked During NJ Paid Sick Leave Webinar on August 15, 2018

Answers to Questions Asked During NJ Paid Sick Leave Webinar on August 15, 2018

First of all, thank you to those of you who listened in on the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave webinar held on Wednesday, August 15, 2018.  For those who were not able to participate or wish to listen again, a link to the recording is available here.  As mentioned during the webinar, the bill which was signed by NJ Governor Phil Murphy can be viewed here.

Final regulations and guidance are still pending from the New Jersey Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  Also, employer notices are expected to be published soon.  Once available, they must be posted and distributed to your New Jersey employees within 30 days of availability.  We will provide a link to the final regulations and notices when they become available.

The law becomes effective on October 29, 2018 and employers must begin accruing paid sick leave on October 29, 2018 for their employees who work in New Jersey.  NJ Paid Sick Leave accrues at a rate of 1 hour per 30 hours worked to a maximum of 40 hours per benefit year.  This benefit is available to both full-time and part-time workers.   A benefit year is defined as any consecutive 12 month period established by the employer.  The benefit year may NOT be changed without notifying the NJ Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.

Employers may have either a Paid Time Off Policy or a separate Vacation / Sick policy as long as they have a mechanism to record time that is used for one of the five qualifying reasons to use Paid Sick Leave.  Note that employers’ policies may be more generous than what the law requires.  However, their policy must meet the minimum requirements of the law.  Employers may have a 120 calendar waiting period for new hires to begin using NJ Paid Sick Leave or they can waive the waiting period (and be more generous than what the law requires).  Per the Act, employers are not required to pay out unused Paid Sick Leave upon termination.

No employer shall count earned sick leave taken under this act as an absence that may result in the employee being subject to discipline, discharge, demotion, suspension, loss or reduction of pay, or any other adverse action.

Because final regulations have not come out yet, several of your questions remain to be answered.  The bill is silent of some of the questions that were asked.  Once final regulations are published, further clarification should be made available.  The webinar was not intended to be exhaustive nor should it be considered legal advice.  Please contact your legal counsel for legal advice.