On January 29, 2014, Newark Mayor Luis Quintana signed into law an ordinance requiring mandatory paid sick leave for employees.  This new ordinance goes into effect on May 29, 2014.

Under the ordinance, employers with 10 or more employees are required to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.  Employers who employ fewer than 10 employees are required to provide up to 24 hours of paid sick leave per year.  However, child care workers, home health care workers and food service workers are entitled to a full 40 hours of paid sick time per year, regardless of the number of employees in their respective businesses.  Government workers, employees covered by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, or employees of Rutgers University (Newark Campus) are not covered by the ordinance.

Full-time, part-time and temporary employees are all counted as “employees” for purposes of determining a company’s paid sick leave obligations.  In situations where the number of employees varies, an employer’s obligations are based on the average number of workers employed during the prior calendar year.

In addition to providing the requisite amount of paid sick leave, employers are also responsible for: (i) providing notice to their workers of their right to paid sick leave; and (ii) keeping records detailing the sick leave used by employees.  The ordinance will be enforced by Newark’s Department of Child and Family Well-Being.  Violators of the ordinance will be subject to potential fines from the city and potential lawsuits from aggrieved employees.

In light of the enactment of Newark’s sick leave ordinance, employers should start preparing the appropriate employee notices required by the ordinance and make any necessary changes to handbooks or other policies to ensure consistency with the ordinance.  As the sick leave ordinance’s effective date approaches, we expect that additional guidance will be provided.  We will provide updates as such information becomes available.