New Jersey Issues Proposed Regulations for the State's Paid Sick Leave Law
As we previously reported, New Jersey's Paid Sick Leave Act becomes effective on October 29, 2018. In anticipation of the upcoming effective date for the new law, the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) recently released its proposed regulations concerning the Act.
The proposed regulations answer several questions created by the statutory language of the Act. Some of the more significant ones are noted below.
School Related Sick Leave Documentation
The Act permits employees to use paid leave for school-related matters, but is silent as to what documentation an employer may request to support an employee's use of earned leave for such purposes. The proposed regulations add some clarity, but not a lot, providing that "tangible proof" of the school-related conference, function, event, or meeting is sufficient.
Blackout Dates for Foreseeable Leave
The Act permits employers to prohibit employees from using foreseeable earned sick leave on certain dates. Employers may require reasonable documentation if an employee uses unforeseeable earned sick leave on a blackout date. The proposed regulations, however, restrict an employer's ability to designate blackout dates to only "verifiable high-volume periods or special events, during which permitting the use of foreseeable earned sick leave would unduly disrupt the operations of the employer."
Foreseeable Sick Leave
Although the Act expressly distinguishes between foreseeable and unforeseeable sick leave, "foreseeable sick leave" is undefined. The proposed regulations explain that foreseeable sick leave includes scheduled doctor's appointments, and regularly occurring or scheduled medical treatment or physical therapy appointments.
According to the proposed regulations, employers can calculate an exempt employee's accrual of earned sick leave by either recording the actual hours worked by the exempt employee or presuming an employee works 40 hours per week.
Notice to Employees
As explained in our prior post, the Act imposes specific obligations upon employers to provide notice to employees of their rights under the Act. The proposed regulations permit employers to satisfy their notice obligations by posting the (as of yet to be issued) notice form on an internet or intranet site available to all employees.
NJDOL will be accepting written comments to the proposed regulations through December 14, 2018.
If you have questions about your business's obligations under the Paid Sick Leave Act, please call us at (201) 345-5412 or use our online scheduling page to set up a complimentary consultation.