New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Act went into effect on October 29, 2018 (final regulations and amendments went into effect in 2020). It applies to just about every private employer and employee in New Jersey!

Under the Act, all NJ employers must provide sick leave benefits except public employers that are otherwise required to provide sick leave benefits. All NJ employees working “for compensation” are covered by the Act except employees in the construction industry employed under a collective bargaining agreement, per diem healthcare employees and public employees who already have sick leave benefits.

When do employees start accruing sick time?  Current employees begin accruing sick time on the effective date of the Act. New employees hired after the effective date of the Act begin accruing sick time on the first date of their employment.

How is paid sick leave accrued?

Covered employees accrue sick time at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked in each “benefit year.”  Employers may designate any period of 12 consecutive months as a “benefit year.” Employers may have different benefit years for different employees if desired.

Employees may accrue up to 40 hours of leave each benefit year, and employers may cap total accrual at no more than 40 hours.  Alternatively, employer’s may “frontload” sick leave by providing employees with the full 40 hours of earned sick leave on the first day of the benefit yearFor an employee who begins employment during the benefit year, you may prorate the frontloaded earned sick leave for the remainder of the benefit year, so long as you track the hours that the employee actually works and the amount of actual sick leave accrued. You will not have to track accruals if you frontload the full 40 hours of earned sick leave.

Employers with existing paid time off (PTO) programs (including personal day, vacation day, and sick day policies) may use those programs only if they "meet or exceed" the Act's requirements, including but not limited to, accrual rate, use, payment, and payout and carryover. 

Can employers require new employees to complete a certain number of days of employment before using accrued sick time? Covered employees may use earned sick leave beginning on the 120th day after the employee commences employment, unless an employer chooses to allow employees to use leave at an earlier date.

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