Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill on May 2 and it will take effect on Oct. 29 To help our members prepare, we have put together a Fast Facts compliance brief. We also archived our Surviving the HR War webinar, which covers a lot of tricky situations in the workplace, including paid sick leave. And of course, members can contact me through the Member Action Center. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our seminar on June 5, Hard Decisions, Hot Topics & Your Legal Questions, where we will be taking a deeper dive on the issue.
Q: Our business already offers a generous paid sick leave benefit. Does this law still apply?
A: Even if you have the 40 hours covered, you should review your policies to make sure they will be in compliance when the law takes effect. In addition to requiring most businesses to provide at least 40 hours of paid sick leave each year, the law spells out what it can be used for as well as what policies employers cannot enforce.
For instance, with few exceptions employers cannot require their employees to provide a doctor’s noet verifying their sick time until they have been absent at least three consecutive days. Also, employers are also prohibited from requiring employees to find a replacement to work their time slot for them. The law also spells out the reasons sick time can be used, such as caring for a sick child.
Q: Is the paid sick leave law applicable to part time and seasonal positions as well?
The law does not distinguish between part-time and full time employees. It also covers student workers on the payroll at colleges and universities. All will enjoy paid sick leave benefits.
What the law says is the employee earns one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, so your part time employees are going to accrue at a slower rate than your full time employees, but they still will accrue time.
Likewise, seasonal employees will accrue paid sick time at the same rate, but employers can require them to wait up to 120 days before taking paid leave.
Q: Do we have to offer additional sick time if we already have a paid time off policy?
Businesses that have a general paid time off (PTO) bank can continue to do so. That was an amendment to the bill that NJBIA was able to get recognizing that a lot of employers have switched to a general PTO to cover both vacation and sick time.
The law specifically says that you can just have a general PTO policy as long as the benefit is at least as generous as the law requires. Employees must accrue time at least as fast as the paid sick leave law says (one hour for every 30 hours worked) and they have to receive at least 40 hours that they can take as sick time. You also have to abide by the other limitations and guarantees in the bill, but you do not have to establish a separate benefit if your policy is at least as generous as the law.