New Jersey Assemblymen Take Another Shot at State Wide Paid Sick Leave Law
February 1, 2018
Francine Foner, Esq., Ty Hyderally, Esq.
Assemblymen Vincent Prieto (D) (Speaker Emeritus) (Bergen and Hudson) and Raj Mukherji (D) (Majority Whip) (Hudson), recently reintroduced a bill requiring mandatory minimum sick leave for certain private New Jersey employees. (A490). The assemblymen first attempted to introduce this legislation on February 8, 2016 (A2785), following earlier efforts by state lawmakers to pass mandatory paid sick leave legislation since 2013. While prior efforts never made it to the desk of former Governor Chris Christie, it is likely that he would have vetoed them. In July 2017, Governor Christie gutted other legislation which would have expanded New Jersey’s Family Leave insurance provisions to increase the amount of eligible leave from 6 to 12 weeks, and include job retention rights currently available to employees of firms with 50 or more employees to those with 20 or more employees.
With the election of progressive Democrat Governor Phil Murphy, the proposed paid sick leave law for certain New Jersey employees may have an improved chance of being signed into law. The proposed state paid sick leave law follows a trend of several New Jersey municipalities passing similar local sick leave laws in recent years. (http://www.employmentlit.com/2017/03/24/paid-sick-leave-in-new-jersey/). The bill also proposes that it would only pre-empt local sick leave laws if their sick leave benefits were less favorable than those in the proposed state law.
The proposed legislation would require each employer to provide paid earned sick leave to each covered employee it employs in the State, except for construction employees that are under contract pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. The employee would accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The bill further proposes that the sick leave could be used for time needed for diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or for preventive medical care for the employee; time needed for the employee to care for a family member for the same reasons; and absence needed due to circumstances resulting from the employee or a family member being a victim of domestic or sexual violence, if the leave is to obtain medical attention, counseling, relocation, legal or other services.
The bill would also prohibit retaliatory personnel actions against an employee for the use or requested use of earned sick leave or for filing of a complaint for an employer violation.
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