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Final Regulations Issued for New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (the “Department”) has issued its final regulations regarding the state’s Paid Sick Leave Act (the “Act”), which took effect on October 29, 2018. The Department also published its responses to over one hundred comments submitted by members of the public regarding the proposed regulations.

As we previously reported, the Act requires employers to provide eligible employees with paid leave for: (i) their own medical needs; (ii) medical needs of a covered family member; (iii) certain needs resulting from the employee or the employee’s family member being a victim of domestic or sexual violence; (iv) an employee’s inability to work because of a closure of the employee’s workplace or their child’s school or daycare facility, due to a public health emergency; or (v) to attend a child’s school-related conference, meeting, or event.

The final regulations and comments are nearly identical to the Department’s proposed regulations and Frequently Asked Questions, with a couple of notable changes:

  • The proposed rules required employers to establish a single benefit year for all employees, but this requirement has since been removed. Employers are still required to establish a benefit year for each employee, but are now permitted to establish different benefit years for different employees or groups of employees.

  • The final rules do not, however, change the process for changing the benefit year. If an employer wishes to change the benefit year after it has been established, it must provide written notice to the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development at least 30 days prior to the proposed change. Among other information, the notice must specify the new benefit year and the reason for the change.

  • An existing paid time off (“PTO”) policy that allows employees to take paid leave for reasons in addition to those covered under the Act fulfills an employer’s obligation to provide paid sick leave only if the entire PTO program adheres to all of the requirements imposed by the Act. Therefore, even if the employee is provided more than 40 hours of PTO, the existing policy must conform to all of the Act’s requirements, “including the carry-over requirements, relative to all of the PTO.”

These regulations are effective as of January 6, 2020. Employers should therefore review their leave policies as soon as possible to ensure compliance. The Department intends to adopt additional regulations in the future, which will address outstanding issues, such as the standard for determining whether the Act applies to certain individuals working both inside and outside of New Jersey and the prorating of advanced earned sick leave for employees that either work part-time or begin work in the middle of a benefit year.

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP.

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About this Author

Harris M Mufson, Class/Collective Action Attorney, Proskauer
Senior Counsel

Harris Mufson is a senior associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration and Whistleblowing & Retaliation Groups.

Adept at counseling clients at every turn of the litigation process, Harris represents employers in a variety of industries, including financial services, health care, entertainment, sports and legal, with respect to a wide range of labor and employment law matters. These include compensation disputes, employment discrimination and retaliation, whistleblowing,...

212-969-3794
Arielle Kobetz, Proskauer Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney
Associate

Arielle Kobetz is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. She assists employers in a wide range of areas, including discrimination, wage and hour, and traditional labor.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Arielle served as a law clerk at the New York City Human Resources Administration, Employment Law Unit, where she worked on a variety of employment discrimination and internal employee disciplinary issues. 

212-969-3304
Alex Downie  New York  Labor & Employment Law
Law Clerk

Alex Downie is a law clerk in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Group. He previously worked as a summer associate at Proskauer and as an intern at the Department of Justice.

Alex earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as the executive editor of the Virginia Law & Business Review. He also volunteered for the school’s employment law clinic, where he assisted with a variety of employment-related matters ranging from employment discrimination to wage and hour disputes...

212-969-3848