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The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act, N.J.S.A. 34:11D-1 et seq. (the “Act“), which was signed by Governor Murphy in May, went into effect on October 29, 2018. Under the Act, all employees—whether full time, part time, or seasonal—must be paid one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year. N.J.S.A. 34:11D-2(a). Employers are required to pay employees for earned sick leave time at their regular rate of pay. N.J.S.A. 34:11D-2(c). Where an employee is terminated, but is rehired within six months, the employee is entitled to all of the sick leave they had accrued previously. N.J.S.A. 34:11D-2(e). Employers may either provide employees with the full complement of earned sick leave time at the beginning of the year, or dole it out as the employee accrues it. N.J.S.A. 34:11D-3(d).
While employees may use their earned sick leave time for the employee’s or employee’s family member(s)’s health care, N.J.S.A. 34:11D-3(a)(1)–(2), the Act also extends to non-medical reasons, including, but not limited to, “time during which the employee is not able to work because of a closure of the employee’s workplace, or the school or place of care of a child of the employee,” N.J.S.A. 34:11D-3(a)(4), and “time needed by the employee in connection with a child of the employee to attend a school-related conference, meeting, function or other event requested or required by a school administrator, teacher, or other professional staff member responsible for the child’s education,” N.J.S.A. 34:11D-3(5). In cases where the “employee’s need to use earned sick leave is foreseeable, an employer may require advance notice, not to exceed seven calendar days . . . . If the reason for the leave is not foreseeable, an employer may require an employee to give notice of the intention as soon as practicable . . . .” N.J.S.A. 34:11D-3(b).
The Act also includes a private right of action for aggrieved employees. Employees have a two-year window to bring civil claims for violations and may be awarded attorneys’ fees and costs if they prevail. N.J.S.A. 34:11D-5.
For more information about the Act, please see the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s website.
If you believe that your employer is not complying with the Act, or that you have been discriminated against for requesting or using earned sick leave time, contact the New Jersey employment lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. today. Call the Cherry Hill, New Jersey office at 856-354-9444, or complete the online contact form, to schedule a consultation. Folkman Law also has an office in Philadelphia to service clients throughout Pennsylvania.