Currently, there is no New Jersey state law requiring private sector employers to provide employees with paid or unpaid sick leave. However, the New Jersey State Senate has fast tracked legislation, Bill 799, to impose a mandatory sick leave requirement on private employers. S-799 stipulates that all companies, regardless of size, would have to provide at least five, and as many as nine, sick days per year to all of their employees – even part-time workers. More specifically, the Senate bill would require employers to grant workers an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Workers at businesses with fewer than 10 employees would be able to accrue up to 40 hours of sick time that could be carried over from one year to the next. Employers with 10 or more workers would be required to allow them to accrue and carry over up to 72 hours of sick leave.
At least nine municipalities in New Jersey already require some form of mandatory sick leave. For example, private employers within the city limits of Jersey City with 10 or more employees are required to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year to eligible employees.
This debate in New Jersey is taking place amid a growing interest nationwide for paid sick leave, exemplified by an executive order issued by President Obama on Labor Day that requires federal contractors to provide employees with paid sick leave.
Employers should stay abreast of developments on this bill which, if passed, would require employers to rewrite their existing sick leave policies and perhaps rethink their vacation and other leave policies. Employers who operate in multiple states should also follow changes in local and state laws, as other jurisdictions and cities, Philadelphia, for example, have enacted paid sick leave laws which may affect out- of-state employers operating within their jurisdictional limits. Hill Wallack employment law attorneys are available to help navigate paid sick leave laws and how they may affect clients in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.