All New Jersey employers are required to provide their employees paid sick leave.

The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act, which goes into effect on October 29, 2018, requires that ALL NJ employers, regardless of size, provide no less than 40 hours of paid sick leave to their employees.

How do Employees Accrue leave?

  • Employees accrue sick leave at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of leave per benefit year. Alternatively, the employer can provide 40 hours up front.
  • Employee are not eligible to use earned sick leave until February 26, 2019 (the 120th calendar day after October 29, 2018), or the 120th calendar day after the employee commences employment, whichever is later.
    • There are two exceptions to this rule:
      • Where the employee has accrued earned sick leave prior to October 29, 2018, or
      • Where the employer has agreed to let the employee use sick leave prior to February 26, 2019.

Are all employees covered?

  • The following individuals are not considered employees under the Act:
    • An individual engaged in service for compensation in the construction industry under contract pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement;
    • A per diem health care employee; or
    • A public employee who is provided with sick leave at full pay pursuant to any other law or rule of New Jersey.

What can sick leave be used for? 

Sick leave can be used for the following reasons:

  • To care for the employee’s own mental or physical illness, injury or other condition;
  • To care for a family member’s mental or physical illness , injury or other condition;
  • To obtain legal services, treatment and other counseling in connection with the employee or the employee’s family member being a victim of domestic violence;
  • To attend school-related conferences and events regarding your child’s education; or
  • To care for a child whose school has closed due to a public health emergency or to cover time when your workplace has been closed due to a public health emergency.

Are employees who already receive PTO from their employer entitled to an additional 40 hours of sick leave?

  • It depends on the employer’s sick leave, vacation, and PTO policy.
  • An employer is in compliance with the Act if the employer provides each employee with PTO, which may include leave types other than sick, such as personal leave and vacation leave, so long as the PTO meets or exceeds all of the requirements in the Act.

Can an employer restrict when an employee can use sick leave?

  • An employer can prohibit employees from using foreseeable sick leave on “certain dates” (special events, high volume period, etc.) so long as the employer gives reasonable notice to its employees.

Can an employer retaliate or discriminate against an employee for using sick leave?

  • Under the Act, Employers cannot retaliate or discriminate against an employee because the employee:
  • requests or uses earned sick leave;
  • files a complaint alleging that the employer violated their rights under the Act; or
  • informs any other person of his or her rights under the Act.

Know your rights under the law and contact Ms. Trabosh if you have any questions regarding your employer’s sick leave policy.


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