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Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP Client AIert

On May 2, 2018, Governor Murphy signed The Earned Sick and Safe Days Act, which enables employees to accrue paid sick time. Under the Act, one of the most expansive paid sick leave programs in the nation, an employee will earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, with a cap at 40 hours. The Act will impact many employers in New Jersey who are already adjusting to other recent employee-friendly bills working their way through the legislature.

The Act will take effect on October 29, 2018, and the following is a big picture overview of the Act and its likely effect on New Jersey employers:

Who Is Covered?

The Act covers all employees, both private and public, except for employees performing service in the construction industry that are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, per diem health care employees, and public employees who is provided with sick leave with full pay pursuant to any other law, rule or regulation of the State.

What Is Covered?

The law enables employees to earn paid leave time for many covered events – including:

How Much Time Is Covered?

The employee will accrue 1 hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours, except that an employer may provide an employee with the full amount of earned sick leave for a benefit year on the first day of each benefit year. If an employer goes this route, the employer shall either provide the employee a payment for the full amount of unused earned sick leave in the final month of the benefit year or carry forward any unused sick leave to the next benefit year.

The employer will be allowed to designate the benefit year as any 12-month period, but once it is established, it cannot be changed without notification to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

When May The Employee Use The Covered Time?

For an employee hired prior to October 29, 2018, the leave will accrue beginning on October 30, 2018, and the employee will be able to use any accrued leave beginning on the 120th day after the employee is hired.

For an employee hired after October 29, 2018, the leave will accrue beginning on the date of hire and the employee will be able to use the leave beginning on the 120th day after the employee is hired, unless the employer agrees to an earlier date. Employees may subsequently use earned sick leave as soon as it is accrued.

If the employee has accrued earned sick leave with the employer before October 29, 2018, this will change these calculations.

Who Is A Family Member?

A “family member” includes a 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.

Additional Guidance For Employers

Recommendations for Employers

Employers should consult with employment counsel as to how they can roll out conformed policies by October 30, 2018. They should also:

This Alert is intended to serve as an initial education on the Act. For a full review of the Act as signed into law, see http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/A2000/1827_R1.HTM 

To learn more about the impacts the new law may have on your business, or if you have questions regarding the legal sufficiency of your employee manuals or policies, please contact Jemi Goulian Lucey, the author of this Alert.