Employees are Entitled to Paid Sick Leave in New Jersey
The New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law went into effect in October 2018, and all employers must comply. The new law applies to all New Jersey businesses, no matter how large and how many they employ. Many workers who were not able to take sick leave in the past will now be able to accrue sick leave. Under this law, even businesses that are headquartered outside of New Jersey will have to provide sick leave to those workers employed in the state.
With offices in Red Bank, NJ and Marlton, NJ, McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. has experience in representing employees who have been denied their sick leave protected under New Jersey state law. If you have been improperly denied paid sick leave, or faced retaliation for making a complaint, your employer may be responsible to compensate you for economic damages and your pain and suffering. Our experienced New Jersey employment lawyers can get you the compensation you deserve.
Entitlements and Exceptions to the NJ Earned Sick Leave Law
Employees who qualify under the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law are entitled to one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work, with a maximum accumulation of up to 40 hours of sick leave in a benefit year. The benefit year is defined as 12 consecutive months established by an employer. The most recent regulations also state that there must be a single benefit year for all employees. The law also allows employers to create policies that provide additional leave time.
Furthermore, employees may be able to carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick leave. Employers have the option of choosing to payout sick leave, or they can ask the employee if they want a payout or carry over their unused time. This will occur in the final month of the employer’s benefit year for unused sick leave.
Although the Earned Sick Leave Law will apply to most New Jersey employees, there are a few exceptions. These include:
- Per diem hospital healthcare employees
- Construction workers hired pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement
- Public employees who have sick leave benefits by state law
What Qualifies As A Sick Day in New Jersey?
There are several allowable reasons for taking a sick day under the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law. These include:
- Time needed for an employee to care for their own health needs, including the diagnosis, care or treatment of mental or physical illness, injury, preventative health care, or other adverse health condition.
- Time needed for an employee to care for the health needs of a family member. A family member is defined as a child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent, grandparent, or another individual related by blood to the employee or whose association is equal to that of a family relationship.
- Any issues that result from an employee or an employee’s family member being a victim of domestic or sexual violence. This includes obtaining the medical attention necessary for a physical or psychological injury, receiving services from a designated domestic violence agency or another victim services organization, relocation, legal services, or participation in any related legal proceeding. This information is considered confidential and cannot be shared without the employee’s written consent.
- The closing of the employee’s workplace, school, or childcare facility because of a public health emergency.
- A child’s school-related conference, meeting, or other event required by a school administrator or staff member.
If an employee’s need to use paid sick leave is known ahead of time, an employer can request up to seven days of notice. If the event is not foreseeable, the employer can request that the employee give them as much notice as is practically possible. Employers can ask employees to submit reasonable documentation for taking sick leave for three or more consecutive days, and in certain other circumstances.
Under this law, employers are not required to provide paid sick leave for any other reasons besides those listed, and can take disciplinary action against employees who use sick leave for any other reason.
Is Maternity Leave Considered Paid Sick Leave in NJ?
The New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law does not include maternity leave. Maternity leave is covered by several other laws, including the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and New Jersey Paid Family Leave Act. If you have been denied maternity leave, we encourage you to contact our NJ pregnancy discrimination lawyers to discuss your situation.
Employee Rights Under The NJ Paid Sick Leave Law
Nearly every employee in New Jersey is entitled to paid sick leave under the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law, including those paid hourly wages, salary, and those whose earnings come from commission or tips. Employers are prohibited from denying workers sick leave for legitimate reasons or retaliating against those who use or ask about sick leave. Retaliation is any action that has an adverse effect on an employee, such as:
- Loss of Pay
Any employer who denies an employee paid sick leave or otherwise breaks this law are in violation of New Jersey State Wage & Hour law and can be held accountable accordingly.
My Employer Has Denied Paid Sick Leave in NJ. What Should I Do?
Those who have been wrongfully denied paid sick leave or believe they were subjected to retaliation for exercising their rights in the workplace are strongly advised to contact a New Jersey employment lawyer with experience handling wage and hour claims. The attorneys at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. can help you understand your rights and options if your rights under the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law were violated.