Employment Law Update: New Sick-Leave Law Infects New Jersey

JERSEY CITY, NJ—In what has been called the best earned sick-day bill in the nation, Jersey City is now the first city in the State of New Jersey to mandate that businesses provide their employees with paid sick time.

The recently passed legislation, which goes into effect on January 24, 2014, requires that all businesses with 10 or more employees allow workers to earn up to 5 paid sick days each year.  Businesses with 9 or fewer employees must allow workers to accrue up to 5 unpaid days.  The new law only covers private employers.

Following a movement that is gaining support nationwide, Jersey City now joins Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; New York, NY; Seattle, WA; Washington, D.C.; and the State of Connecticut in mandating guaranteed sick leave.  Interestingly, the law in Jersey City, a city of 250,000 just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, is one of the nation’s most generous.  The new legislation permits workers to accrue 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.  A new employee will start accruing sick time immediately, but must work at least 90 days before using the time.

Since the passage of the bill, another northern New Jersey city announced that it may mandate paid sick time.  Officials of the city of Newark intend to introduce legislation allowing workers to earn between 3 and 5 paid sick days per year. Specifically, the proposed law would allow both full-time and part-time workers in businesses with 10 or more employees to earn up to 5 paid sick days, while those in companies with less than 9 employees could earn up to 3 paid sick days.  Similar to the Jersey City law, employees would earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.

To discuss sick leave or other workplace policies, please contact author Harvey R. Linder.

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