Earned sick leave is about the become law in New Jersey. For those of our readers that may have missed this very important piece of legislation in the news, we’re happy to provide it here.

On May 2, 2018, New Jersey became the 10th state in the country to enact paid sick leave bill allowing workers to get 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The legislation is set to take effect in October this year and pre-empts any previous paid sick leave laws passed in the state of New Jersey. According to Earned Sick Leave Act, workers can accrue a total of 40 hours of earned sick leave every year. Unused sick leaves will carry over to next year unless the employee agrees to receive payment for unused sick time. The bill permits employers to provide their employees further relaxation according to their company policies.

Qualified Use of Earned Sick Leave

According to Karen White, Director at Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, employees can use Earned Sick Leave for taking care of their health and the health of individuals defined as ‘family members’ as per law. Health issues covered in this act include:

  • Treatment of employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health conditions.
  • Leave required by an employee to provide Care for a family member during the treatment of any mental or physical illness.
  • Necessary treatment required by an employee or their family member as a result of domestic or sexual violence.
  • Time needed after the closure of employee’s or their family member’s place of care due to a public health emergency or if the public health authority issues notice to an employee to take leave from workplace so as not to jeopardize the health of other employees.
  • School-related conference or meeting for employee’s child education or healthcare needs.

Documentation Requirements for Earned Sick Leave

Based on the nature of leave, employees may be required to submit documentary evidence as proof of leave requirement. This may include a Doctor’s notice or any other proof that states the reason for earned sick leave permissible under the law.

All proofs of an employee’s earned sick leave should be kept confidential by the employer including any medical treatments or occurrences of sexual or domestic violence. If the incidence is foreseeable beforehand, employees can give prior notice before availing the leave. However, an employer cannot ask for sick leave notice from its employee more than seven days before the start of the leave period.

Types of Employees Not Covered Under the Law

Paid Sick Leave Act of New Jersey does not cover certain employee categories which include workers in a collective bargaining agreement in the construction industry and Healthcare workers who work for their employers on per diem basis. Public employees who have access to Earned Sick Leaves under other laws are also not covered under this act. However, those employee categories that are covered under this Paid Sick Leave Act have strong provisions in the law to address employer’s non-compliance issues.

Benefits of Earned Sick Leave Act

Although many employers may incur some added cost due to the enactment of this law, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Benefits will include low turnover of employees, which in turn would reduce company costs for hiring and training new staff. This law will boost employee morale and encourage higher productivity. Healthier employees at workplace will reduce the spread of illness at the job. Eventually, the Earned Sick Leave Act will contribute towards overall public health in the state of New Jersey.

In the End

At Bond Andiola we’re all about maintaining good HR responsibilities, and prompt and appropriate change when our governing bodies make rule changes or adjustments to policy. As many of you are aware, we are specialists offering Xero software solutions. Utilizing Xero as your pay and benefits software solution makes it easy to stay on top of changing regulations, and we recommend it highly. If you are interested in finding out how we can employ Xero to your business, feel free to call anyone in our office for more information and a no obligation demonstration.

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