Elizabeth Paid Sick Leave Ordinance in Effect


Effective today, March 2, employers in the City of Elizabeth, New Jersey will need to comply with a paid sick leave ordinance.  The ordinance is designed to provide those working for an employer located in Elizabeth with paid sick leave from their jobs.  It is similar to the ordinances passed in other municipalities throughout the state, including Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, New Brunswick, Newark, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton.

Under the Elizabeth ordinance, private-sector employees working in Elizabeth for at least 80 hours per year will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.  These hours begin to accrue on the first day of employment, and employees may start using this accrued leave on the 90th calendar day of their employment.  Employees can earn up to 40 hours of paid leave in a calendar year, except if the employer has fewer than 10 employees, in which case the employees may earn up to 24 hours of paid sick leave per year.  The ordinance allows accrued but unused leave to carry over to the following calendar year, but no employer is required to allow its employees to use more than 40 hours of paid sick leave in a calendar year.  Employers also are not required to pay the employee for unused sick time upon termination or resignation of employment.

The ordinance allows employees to use paid sick leave for their own health condition and to care for a family member with a mental or physical illness.  Employers are permitted to request the employee provide reasonable documentation of the purpose for a leave after 3 consecutive days or instances of using paid sick leave.  Employees may use sick leave in the smaller of hourly increments or the smallest increment that the employer’s payroll system uses to account for absences.

Elizabeth employers that already have a paid sick leave policy that complies with the new ordinance do not need to provide additional paid sick time.  If, however, the policy provides fewer hours of paid leave, applies to fewer employees, does not allow leave for all of the above purposes, or imposes different conditions on taking leave, then the employer will need to modify its policy to be in compliance with the new ordinance. 

For assistance in drafting or revising a paid sick leave policy to comply with Elizabeth’s new ordinance, please contact Connell Foley’s labor and employment law attorneys.