Not to be outdone by its New England neighbors (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York City), New Jersey now joins 9 other states and more than 30 local jurisdictions in requiring private employers to provide paid sick leave.  New Jersey's sick leave law will take effect on October 29, 2018, and it applies to almost all paid employees, with the exception of certain construction industry workers, healthcare workers, and public employees.  Under the new law: 

  • Employees must accrue 1 hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, to be capped at 40 hours per year. Unused leave must be carried over year to year, subject to the 40-hour cap. Alternately, employers can choose to "front-load" employees the full 40 hours at the beginning of each year.       
  • Employees may use paid leave for preventive care, treatment, or recovery from a physical or mental health condition for themselves or a close family member. Employees may also use paid leave for attending school-related conferences and meetings requested by their child's school.                              
  • Employers may require reasonable advance notice (up to 7 days) for foreseeable leave, and may discipline employees who use leave for impermissible purposes.                              
  • Does your PTO, vacation, and/or sick leave policy comply with the New Jersey law by providing up to 40 hours per year of paid sick leave and allowing employees to use paid leave to attend school conferences?  If not, now is the time to make changes.  Many employers should consider "front-loading" the full sick leave amount to avoid changes to your current PTO/vacation policy.

The other states that have enacted sick leave laws are: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Other notable jurisdictions with sick leave laws include New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis / St. Paul, Austin, TX, and Puerto Rico.

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