NJ Sick Leave Act Explained Part 2
How can Leave be Used?
A covered employee may use paid sick leave benefits for any one of the following:
• Diagnosis, care or treatment of, or recovery from, the employee’s own mental or physical illness, including preventive medical care;
• Diagnosis, care or treatment of, or recovery for a family member’s mental or physical illness, including preventive medical care;
• Time needed due to the employee or employee’s family member being a victim of domestic or sexual violence, including counseling, legal services, or participation in any civil or criminal proceedings;
• Time needed when the employee’s workplace or school/ childcare of the employee’s child is closed by order of a public official or other public health emergency; and
• Time to attend a school-related conference or meeting to discuss a child’s health condition or disability.
The term “family member” is broadly defined to include any individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. Employers are permitted to choose the increments employees may use accrued sick time; however, the largest increment chosen may not be larger than the number of hours an employee was scheduled to work in a given shift.
Notice and Recordkeeping
If an employee’s absence is foreseeable, an employer may require notice, not to exceed seven (7) days, from an employee of the date leave is to begin and the expected duration of such leave prior to using sick leave. If unforeseeable, the employee must give notice as soon as practicable. If an employee is absent for at least three (3) consecutive days, an employer may require the employee to provide reasonable documentation confirming the leave is for a purpose permitted under the Act.
The Commissioner of the Department of Labor will be developing a model notice detailing employees’ rights under the Act. Employers are required to post the notice and provide a copy to employees within 30 days after the notice has been issued. The notice must be given to new hires upon hire and to any employee upon request.
Employers must retain records documenting hours worked and earned sick leave used by employees for a period of five (5) years, and allow access to the Department of Labor.
Employers should review their current paid time off and
sick leave policies to determine compliance with the Act
and determine whether they will need to implement new
policies or amend existing policies. Employers should
also review their employee handbooks and make any
necessary revisions. Finally, employers should keep their
eyes open for the model notice from the Department.
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