New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Bill Halted

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By Michael A. Shadiack & Lauren F. Iannaccone

On May 9, 2016, the New Jersey Senate delayed voting on Senate Bill 799 which, if passed, would require all businesses in New Jersey to provide paid sick days to each employee that it employs within the state. 

In part, the Bill mandates that for every 30 hours the employee works, the employee will accrue one hour of paid sick time, up to a maximum of five or nine paid sick leave days depending on the size of the business. The Bill requires businesses to compensate the employee for his/her earned paid sick leave at his/her pay rate. Morover, the Bill requires businesses to permit employees to use paid sick time to aid or care for a family member during diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, the family member’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or during preventive medical care for the family member.

As discussed in our prior Updates, aside from the pending Bill, the following municipalities in New Jersey have adopted an ordinance requiring employees working within the municipalities to be provided paid sick leave: Bloomfield, East Orange, Trenton, New Brunswick, Montclair, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark, Irvington, Plainfield, Paterson and Passaic. 

What if a business operates in a municipality with an ordinance and Senate Bill 799 passes? Does that business comply with both or just one?  The Bill makes clear that it does not preempt, limit or otherwise affect the applicability of any provision of a municipal ordinance that provides rights or benefits to employees that are more favorable to employees than those required by the Bill, assuming the ordinance was adopted prior to the effective date of the Bill. Thus, businesses facing that conundrum would be subject to both the ordinance and Senate Bill 799, which, if passed, will be New Jersey law. To comply, a business must evaluate whether the local ordinance or the state law provides more favorable benefits to its employees and then comply with those requirements. 

Certain provisions in your business’s sick leave policy must be carefully considered, such as whether the paid sick leave policy is broad enough to include leave to care for family members as designated by Senate Bill 799, whether your employees have worked at your company for the requisite time before they are entitled to use paid sick leave, and whether your sick leave policy allows unused time to roll over into the next calendar year, just to name a few.
We will continue to monitor Senate Bill 799 and alert you as to any further legislative action. For assistance in complying with any of the current municipal ordinances that require paid sick leave, please contact Connell Foley’s labor and employment law attorneys.