This law, which went into effect late last year, provides that full time employees working in NJ have a right to earned sick leave. Specifically, your employer must provide you with a total of 40 hours of earned sick leave every benefit year.
Your sick leave accrues at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of leave. Alternatively, your employer can provide you with the 40 hours earned sick leave up front at the beginning of the year.
You can use earned sick leave for a variety of reasons. It is available for your use where:
- You need diagnosis, care, treatment or recovery from a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition or if you need preventive medical care.
- You need to care for a family member (spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner and/or any individual related by blood to you or friends who are like family to you) of the employee for the same reason as above.
- You or a family member have been the victim of domestic violence or sexual violence and you need time for treatment, counseling or to prepare for legal proceedings.
- You need to attend school-related conferences, meetings or events regarding your child’s education, or to attend a school-relate meeting regarding your child’s health.
- Your employer’s business closes due to a public health emergency or need to care for a child where the school or child care is unavailable due to a public health emergency.
If your need for earned sick leave can be planned in advance, then you must give your employer 7 days advance notice of your intention to use earned sick time. If your need to use leave is unforeseeable, then you must give your employer notice as soon as it is practical.
You need to provide reasonable documentation to your employer if you use earned sick leave on 3 or more consecutive work days or on special dates designated by your employer.
Your unused earned sick leave can be carried over into the next benefit year, however, your employer has the option of purchasing your unused earned sick leave at the end of the benefit year.
Finally, you have the right to be free from worrying about retaliation for using earned sick leave. If your employer retaliates against you for using your earned sick leave, then this would be a violation of the law and violation of your rights. If that occurs, you can either file a complaint with the NJ Dept. of Labor (phone: 609-292-2305) or consult with an experienced employment law attorney who can bring a retaliation action in court to civilly prosecute your employer for retaliating against you.
For more information or to set up a consultation to discuss pursuing an action for a violation of this law, please call Fred Shahrooz-Scampato, Esquire at 908-301-9095 or email him at Scampato@njlaborlaw.com.