On Wednesday, May 2, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (the “Act”). The Act, which goes into effect on October 29, 2018, preempts all existing New Jersey municipal earned sick leave laws and, like the New York City Earned Sick Time Act, allows employees to accrue one (1) hour of sick leave time per thirty (30) hours worked.

Specifically, the Act:

  1. Allows employees to accrue one (1) hour of sick leave time per thirty (30) hours worked, with a cap of forty (40) hours per year;
  2. Requires employers to pay employees for earned sick leave time at their regular rate of pay;
  3. Allows employees to use earned sick leave time for: (i) diagnosis, care, treatment of, or recovery from the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or for the employee’s preventive medical care; (ii) time to aid or care for a family member in one of the situations described in (i); (iii) time needed due to an employee’s or family member’s status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence; (iv) closure of the workplace, school, or childcare facility issued by a public health authority due to a public health emergency; and (v) a school-related conference or meeting. The Act defines a “family member” as an employee’s “child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent, or grandparent of an employee, or a spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner of a parent or grandparent of the employee, or a sibling of a spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner of the employee, or any other individual related by blood to the employee or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship”;
  4. Allows employers to require up to seven (7) days’ advanced notice of an employee’s intention to use earned sick leave time where the need for use of such time is foreseeable. For unforeseeable use, employers may require notice as soon as is practicable;
  5. Allows employers to request reasonable documentation only if an employee is absent for three or more consecutive days;
  6. Allows employers to prohibit the use of foreseeable earned sick leave time on certain dates;
  7. Prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees for requesting or using earned sick leave time; and
  8. Requires employers to keep records of hours worked and earned sick leave time used by each employee for five (5) years and to post a notice in the workplace of employees’ rights under the Act.

The Act does not cover employees performing service in the construction industry who are subject to a collective bargaining agreement, or per diem health care employees. The Act also includes a private right of action for aggrieved employees and allows for compensatory and liquidated damages.

As previously stated, the Act will go into effect on October 29, 2018. New Jersey employers should review and adjust their paid time off policies to comply with the Act’s requirements prior to this date.