Effective October 29, 2018, the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law requires employers to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The law applies to most, but not all workers (for example, it does not apply to those working under a collective bargaining agreement). You may begin using paid sick leave 120 days after it is accrued, unless the employer offers paid sick leave up front, without requiring workers to wait until they have accrued the leave.
You may accrue up to 40 hours of sick leave per year and carry up to 40 hours over to the next benefit year unless your employer allows you to accept payment instead of carrying over sick days. Employers must pay the same rate for sick leave as a worker’s usual pay. Employers may choose to offer more paid sick leave than the law requires. You may use these benefits for routine medical care; care for sick family members; to deal with issues related to domestic or sexual violence, to attend a child’s school-related meeting or event, or when schools are closed due to a public health emergency. Note that the definition of “family member” is broad for purposes of earned sick leave. A “family member” may be a child (biological, adopted, foster, stepchild), other relative, or even someone who is not actually related to you, but is as close to you as a family member.
If the sick leave is foreseeable, the worker is expected to give advance notice (seven calendar days) to the employer. An employer may prohibit a worker from taking foreseeable sick leave on particular dates. If the leave is not foreseeable, the worker must give notice to the employer as soon as practicable. For absences of three or more days, employers may require documentation from a medical professional.
Violations of the new law (for example, an employer refuses to pay for sick leave) will be treated as wage violations. The law provides a private right of action and liquidated damages for violations. It explicitly prohibits retaliation against workers asserting their rights under the new law.
Employers must provide each employee with written notice of the right to earned sick leave, including accrual and use of earned sick leave, and the right to file a complaint and be free from retaliation. The notice must state the start and end dates of the employee’s benefit year. Workers have a right to the notice in English and, if applicable, in his or her first language. The notice is available in English and 12 other languages on the Department of Labor website. See Earned Sick Leave in New Jersey (from The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development) for more information.
This information last reviewed: May 22, 2023