New Earned Sick Leave Law & Minimum Wage for New Jersey

New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD) has released the new Earned Sick Leave (ESL) notice, as well as the updated Wage & Hour Law Abstract with the 2019 minimum wage rate.

We are happy to announce that our updated New Jersey posters will soon be heading out to businesses across the Garden State.

What’s Happening in New Jersey?

Earned Sick Leave Law

The new Earned Sick Leave Law applies to all private businesses in New Jersey, with no exception for small businesses.

The Earned Sick Leave notice must be posted in a conspicuous and accessible place at every worksite. In addition, employers are required to provide written notice to all employees of their rights under the law. To satisfy this requirement, a copy of the notice must be given to new employees at the onset of employment and to existing employees by November 29, 2018.

Under the law, most employees have the right to accrue up to 40 hours of Earned Sick Leave per year, at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 worked. Accrual of ESL begins on October 29, 2018, or the first day of employment, whichever is later. Employees may begin using leave 120 days after their employment start date.

Earned Sick Leave may be used for employees’ own qualifying needs or the needs of family members. The law defines “family members” as children, grandchildren, siblings, spouses, domestic or civil union partners, parents, grandparents, and other individuals who have a close association with an employee and are the equivalent of family members.

Acceptable reasons to use ESL include the following:

  • Diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery for a mental or physical illness
  • Treatment, counseling, or legal proceedings related to domestic or sexual violence
  • School-related meetings or events concerning a child’s education or health
  • Business or school/child-care closures due to a public health emergency

The Earned Sick Leave Law protects employees from retaliation when exercising their rights under the law. Employers may not retaliate against employees who:

  • Request/use sick leave
  • File a complaint about alleged violations of the law
  • Communicate a violation to anyone, including a co-worker
  • Participate in an investigation regarding a violation
  • Inform anyone of their rights under the law

Examples of adverse employment actions include threats, discipline, discharge, and demotion.

There’s an additional and important provision in the Earned Sick Leave Law that employers need to be aware of. The state law preempts existing city and county ESL laws, and also prohibits the adoption of future ESL laws by city or county governing bodies. We are in the process of reaching out to customers in New Jersey who will be affected by this change.

2019 Minimum Wage Update

In contrast to the information above, there’s only one thing you need to know about New Jersey’s 2019 minimum wage. Effective January 1, 2019, employees in New Jersey must be paid a minimum wage of no less than $8.85 per hour. The updated Wage & Hour Law Abstract has a new revision date of 1/19.

What’s Next?

There’s a lot going on in New Jersey! If you have not already done so, we encourage you to order our 1-Year Compliance Plan so that you will automatically receive the updated New Jersey poster as soon as it is available. And because our plan provides free poster updates for mandatory changes, no matter how many occur during the year, you can always count on Poster Compliance Center to keep you in compliance!