ACTION NEEDED BY ALL NJ EMPLOYERS BY OCTOBER 29, 2018
On May 2, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed A1827 (New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act) into law. This Bill was passed by the State Assembly 50-24 and by the State Senate by 24-14 earlier in April of this year. The bill requires businesses to set a benefit year of 12 consecutive months where employees may accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave benefits at a rate of one benefit hour for every 30 hours worked. It therefore covers many employees who may be considered “part time”.
All employees working in New Jersey are covered by the Act with a few exceptions. Per diem healthcare employees, construction workers employed pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, and public employees who already have sick leave benefits are not eligible.
Although some modern laws regarding health insurance coverage are stratified by company size, this bill applies to ALL size companies, no matter how small. Temporary Staffing companies must provide Paid Sick Leave even when their staffed employees are contracted to different client companies.
Employees may carry over accrued but unused paid sick leave days but the Bill does not require the employer to provide more than 40 hours of paid sick leave in a single benefit year.
Employees may use the leave time for the following reasons:
- Diagnosis, care, treatment or recovery for the employee’s or family member’s own mental or physical condition (inclusive of preventative care)
- Time needed as a result of an employee’s or family member’s status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence (including counseling, legal services, or participation in any civil or criminal proceedings related to the same)
- Time when the workplace, school, or childcare is closed by order of a public official due to a public health concern
- Time to attend a school-related conference or meeting
*The definition of “family member” includes any individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
An employer will comply with the law if it already offers employees paid time off, including but not limited to personal days, vacation days, or sick days, provided the accrual rate is equal to or greater than that described under the law and employees can use their earned sick time for the same permissible purposes. A properly structured comprehensive paid time off policy can ensure compliance and be an important component to attracting and retaining talent.
A silver lining in reducing the administrative burden, employers with multiple locations in New Jersey that faced increased administrative burden and compliance of with individual towns and municipalities, the new State law prohibits towns and cities from enacting ordinances regarding earned sick leave and supersedes any previous municipal ordinances in existence prior to the new State law. The 13 municipalities that have enacting their own laws so far are: 1) Bloomfield; 2) East Orange; 3) Elizabeth; 4) Irvington; 5) Jersey City; 6) Montclair; 7) Morristown; 8) Newark; 9) New Brunswick; 10) Passaic; 11) Paterson; 12) Plainfield; and 13) Trenton.
The bill is scheduled to go in effect on October 29, 2018 (180 days after signed by the Governor). AEPG strongly recommends that employers have their policies and procedures and employee manual updated to incorporate these changes. This is a great opportunity to perform a comprehensive benefits review of retirement plan, group insurance and other employee benefits. If you need assistance, or if you have any questions on this change, please do not hesitate to contact us. Alternatively, if you are interested in learning more about a comprehensive benefits review, or would like to learn more about AEPG’s new Employee Benefits Assessment, do not hesitate to contact your AEPG representative or Bill Corson and Noel Santiago from AEPG’s Employee Benefits team.
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