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The New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law is a topic I have discussed before but it still seems to be a law many businesses either don’t know exists or don’t understand how to comply.

Enacted back in October of 2018, the law requires NJ employers of all sizes to provide full-time, part-time, and temporary employees with up to 40 hours of earned sick leave per year to care for themselves or a loved one.

Let’s start with the notice every NJ Business should post in a heavy traffic area and disseminate to all new and existing employees. This notice gives each employee written notice of their right to earned sick leave, including accrual and use of sick leave, and the right to file a complaint and be free from retaliation. The notice must give the start and end dates of your benefit year.

Accrued sick leave under the law is capped at 40 hours per year. Since it can be somewhat burdensome to calculate each employee’s earned sick leave, many businesses have decided to front load each full time employee the 40 hours at the beginning of the year.

A few things to know regarding the NJ Earned Sick Leave Law:

>All employees are eligible to accrue sick leave, even part-timers with very limited hours.

> You DO NOT have to provide employees with 40 hours all at once. Employers can have employees accrue time at a rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work.

>You DO have to allow employees to carry unused sick time from one year to the next, but it can be capped at 40 hours per year.

>You DO NOT need to grant sick leave until 120 days after an employee’s hire date

>You CAN NOT require an employee to use their earned sick leave for something other than that stated under the law.

>Employers MUST keep records for five years documenting compliance with the law.

So, for the business that is incorporating what it believes is an employee-friendly PTO (Paid Time Off) policy of 10 days, be aware that five of those days needs to be allotted as sick days in order to be in compliance with the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law.

Marzano Human Resources Consulting works with many businesses in developing paid time off policies.  These policies are not only attractive to employees, but are also compliant with both federal and New Jersey state employment laws.

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