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NJ Paid Sick Leave

What is New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law?
When does the law take effect?
Who is eligible for NJ Earned Sick Leave?
For what reasons can paid sick leave be used?
How is paid sick leave awarded?
When can I begin using paid sick leave?
Can I carry over my accrued, unused sick leave?
Can I use my sick leave in increments?
Can I use my sick leave on a day that I am not scheduled to work?
Can my manager ask for advanced notice before I use my sick leave?
At what point can my manager ask for a doctor’s note as a condition of taking paid sick leave?
Does the law impose any additional record keeping requirements on employers?
What if I am re-hired?
What if I terminate my employment with BCC?
 


What is the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law?

The New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law is a law which allows employees to accrue and use up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in a 12-month period for their own diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care, or for that of a family member.


 

When does the law take effect?

The law took effect on October 29, 2018.


 

Who is eligible for NJ Earned Sick Leave?

Full-time Bergen Community College faculty and staff currently earn sick time in excess of the new law, so they are not affected by this law. Their sick time benefits will remain the same.

Part-time BCC employees are affected by this law. All part-time BCC employees, including student workers, will accrue sick leave in accordance with the NJ Earned Sick Leave law.

“Employee” means an individual engaged in service to an employer in the business of the employer for compensation. “Employee” does not include an employee performing service in the construction industry that is under contract pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, or a per diem healthcare employee, or a public employee who is provided with sick leave with full pay pursuant to any other law, rule, or regulation of the State.

Although adjunct instructors are considered part-time employees, according to the law’s provisions, it does not apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement at the time of the effective date of the law until such agreement expires.  Adjuncts are eligible to time off in accordance with their collective bargaining agreement.


 

For what reasons can paid sick leave be used?

Under the law, an employee can use paid sick leave for any of the following reasons:

  • The diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery from an employee’s own mental or physical illness, injury or condition, or, for their preventative care
  • The diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery from a family member’s own mental or physical illness, injury or condition, or, for their preventative care
  • To deal with domestic violence or sexual assault experienced by an employee, or experienced by one of their family members
  • If an employee’s place of business, or their child’s school, or place of care has been closed by order of a public official for any health-related reason
  • If a public health official has determined that an employee or a member of their family could jeopardize the health of others
  • For an employee to attend a school-related conference, meeting, function or other event, or to attend a meeting to discuss the child’s health conditions or disability.

A family member includes a child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent, or grandparent of an employee, or a spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner of a parent or grandparent of the employee, or a sibling of a spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner of the employee, or any other individual related by blood to the employee or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.


 

How is paid sick leave awarded?

Employees earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, starting on October 29, 2018 (the law’s effective date), or the date the employee is hired, whichever is later. Employees can earn and use a maximum of 40 hours over a 12-month consecutive period, i.e., the “benefit year.”

BCC’s benefit year for NJ Paid Sick Leave is July 1st through June 30th.


 

When can I begin using paid sick leave?

Employees must wait up to 120 days before using their accrued sick time. The first day employees can use their accrued sick time under this new law is February 26, 2019. Employees hired after October 29, 2018 can use their accrued sick time 120 days after their hire date.


 

Can I carry over my accrued, unused sick leave?

Yes, a maximum of 40 hours of accrued, unused sick leave will be carried over to the next benefit year. At no time will the amount of accrued sick leave exceed 40 hours.

For full-time employees, the maximum number of carryover sick days will remain the same.


 

Can I use my sick leave in increments?

For part-time employees, you can use your accrued sick leave in full-hour increments.


 

Can I use my sick leave on a day that I am not scheduled to work?

No. You must use your sick time only on days you are scheduled to work. For example, if you are scheduled to work on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can only use your sick time on a Tuesday or a Wednesday.


 

Can my manager ask for advanced notice before I use my sick leave?

Managers can require up to seven calendar days’ advanced notice, but only if an employee’s need to use paid sick leave is “foreseeable.” Otherwise, the employee only has to provide notice as soon as it’s practicable or reasonable for them.

Managers can’t require their employees to find someone to cover their shifts while they are using paid sick leave.

In addition, once an employee earns paid sick leave and uses it for a valid reason, it is illegal to retaliate against them. That means employers can’t count paid sick leave as an absence toward an employee getting disciplined, demoted, suspended or terminated. Likewise, the law creates a rebuttable presumption that a negative employment action (like a demotion) is retaliation if it is taken or threatened within 90 days of the employee:

  • filing a complaint with the NJ Department of Labor;
  • informing any person about their rights under the law or about a possible violation;
  • cooperating in an investigation or prosecution; or
  • opposing any policy, practice, or act that they believe is illegal under the Paid Sick Leave law

 

At what point can my manager ask for a doctor’s note as a condition of taking paid sick leave?

An employer can request documentation once an employee has taken three or more consecutive workdays as paid sick leave. The law prohibits employers from requiring your healthcare provider to specify the medical reason for your leave.


 

Does the law impose any additional record keeping requirements on employers?

The law requires employers to keep records documenting the hours worked and the paid sick time earned and used by each employee for at least five years. If an employee claims an employer did not provide the paid sick leave they were entitled to and the employer does not have the necessary records, it’s assumed that the employer did not provide the leave. The employer would then be subject to fines and penalties for violating the law.


 

What if I am re-hired?

If an employee is terminated, laid off, or otherwise separated from employment with the employer, any unused accrued sick leave shall be reinstated upon the re-hiring or reinstatement of the employee to that employment within six months of termination, being laid off, or separated, and prior employment with the employer shall be counted toward meeting the eligibility requirements.


 

What if I terminate my employment with BCC?

Unused accrued sick time is not compensated upon termination.