New Jersey’s New Paid Sick Leave Law

On May 2, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (“NJPSLA”), which guarantees paid sick leave to every employee in the State of New Jersey. The new law takes effect on October 29, 2018, and makes New Jersey the tenth state to require employers to give employees paid sick leave.

“This is not just about doing what’s right for workers and their families,” he said of paid sick leave. “This is about doing the right thing for our economy and protecting more New Jerseyans’ place in that economy,” said Murphy.

Unlike many paid sick leave laws in the United States, New Jersey’s new law applies to any person or entity that employs employees in the state. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act and the New Jersey Family Leave Act, for example, only apply to employers with 50 or more employees. The NJPSLA requires all New Jersey employers, regardless of size, to give their employees paid sick leave under the law.

Under the NJPSLA, employees make take leave for the diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery related to the employee’s illness, or for that of a family member. Family members are defined broadly to include domestic or civil union partners, spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, grandparents, or someone “whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”

Employees are also entitled to leave for medical or psychological attention or victim services related to domestic or sexual violence, public health emergencies, and school conferences or other meetings related to care for the employee’s child.

Under the NJPSLA, employers must pay employees at their normal rate of pay for every hour of leave taken. Employees can accrue and use up to 40 hours of leave per benefit year. Employers may use one of two options to provide leave. First, they may allow employees to accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Second, they may allot the full amount of leave to employees up front. Employees can accrue and use up to 40 hours of leave per benefit year. New employees may use leave after the 120th day of employment.

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