New Jersey’s new Paid Sick Leave Act was passed earlier this month (May, 2018). This law will affect just about every private employer and employee in New Jersey! It becomes effective on October 29, 2018.  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.” 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 year.  

Employers with existing paid time off (PTO), personal days, vacation days, and sick day policies may use those policies to satisfy the requirements of the Act, as long as employees can use the time off as required by the Act.

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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