NJBIA hosted a two-hour question-and-answer period with David Bander, executive director of the Policy Office for the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and about 20 members Friday to cover specific questions about implementing the new paid sick leave law on Oct. 29.

For a copy of the regulations, go here. NJBIA members can download a copy of the Fast Facts compliance brief here.

Still have questions? Join us Friday for A Crash Course in New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Law 

Regulations have been proposed but will not be finalized before the implementation date. Bander noted that while employees start accumulating time on Oct. 29, employers can require them to wait 120 days before using any paid sick time, which would be well after the regulations have been finalized.

Additionally, the office is still contemplating further action on some aspects of the law, including how the definition of “hours worked” in the New Jersey Wage and Hour law intersects with the paid sick leave law, and whether or not employees who work in other states as well as New Jersey are covered by the law.

Otherwise, Bander was able to clear up a number of questions about the regulations.  Here are a few of his explanations:

  1. Benefit year vs. anniversary date

Employers can select their benefit year start date, but the benefit year has to be the same for all employees. Employers can select the calendar year, beginning their benefit year on Jan. 1, or any other 12-month period (i.e. Oct. 1 to Sept. 29).

David Bander (left), executive director, Policy Office at New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, sat down with about 20 business people at NJBIA headquarters for a two-hour question and answer session about the new paid sick leave law. NJBIA’s Michael Wallace listens in.

David Bander (left), executive director, Policy Office at New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, sat down with about 20 business people at NJBIA headquarters for a two-hour question and answer session about the new paid sick leave law. NJBIA’s Michael Wallace listens in.

The requirement that it be the same for all employees effectively prohibits employers from using employees’ anniversary dates or the date of hire, since these would be different for each worker.

  1. Accruing paid sick time vs. receiving it all at once.

The law and the regulations require that employees acquire sick time at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours they work. Employers, at their discretion, may provide employees with all 40 hours of sick time at the beginning of the benefit year.

Bander clarified that employers can use a different method for each employee. Some employees can receive their 40 hours up front, while other can be required to accrue them based on their hours worked. For instance, employers can provide exempt employees with 40 hours of sick time up front, but require hourly workers to accrue it.

Employers can also change the method for each employee from one benefit year to the next. For instance, an employee hired in the middle of a benefit year can be required to accrue time for the remainder of the benefit year, but then receive the full 40 hours upfront at the beginning of the new benefit year.

  1. No more than 40 hours required

Bander clarified that employers are not required to allow employees to use more than 40 hours of paid sick time in a year regardless of how many hours they may have accrued.

The paid sick leave law is worded in such a way that employees can have more than 40 hours of sick time in a year. They can carry forward up to 40 hours of unused sick time from the previous year, and accrue another 40 hours in the current benefit year. But even though they have 80 hours of paid sick time, employers do not have to allow them to use all 80 hours in a single benefit year.


26 responses to “Answers to Implementing NJ’s Paid Sick Leave Law”

  1. Dennis Mattessich says:

    How do I pay sales people sick time if they are 100% commission and do not punch a time card and do not have required hours worked/week?

  2. Bill Lehman says:

    This law just adds additional costs to the employer and will drive small businesses out of New Jersey along with the high taxes, healthcare costs. Costs will go up as they will with Gov. Murphy’s $15.00 wanted base pay. PA and/or other states – here we come! We will no longer be able to be competitive in our marketplace with these added cost.

  3. This bill really only affects small businesses, like mine, as large corporations already have these PTO plans in place. It would have been nice if they allowed us to phase it in gradually and not hit us all at once. Since I have to implement this plan I can’t offer a retirement package this year.

  4. Thanks NJBIA. Can you help to clarify a few questions for me?

    Q1) Can we confirm that companies can have a rollover system only and with a cap policy? I.e. Having employees rollover unused time into a bank and the company does not have to offer a payout at the end of each Benefits Year?

    Q2) Can you help to clarify if there will be a “total cap” on Paid Sick Hours (PSH)? Currently we cap PSH banks at 80 hours. I have two examples:

    Scenario # 1 Time Provided / Frontloaded:
    A employee has 40 PSH at the end of the Benefits Year (BY) #1 and is given 40 hours up front in the beginning of BY #2 = 80 hours of PSH in their bank. If they do not use any PSH by the end BY #2, what is the cap in the beginning of BY #3:
    1) Still 80 and they would not receive another 40 hours up front until they begin to use / draw down PSH
    2) They would receive an additional 40 hour up front at the beginning of BY #3 and the cap is now 120 hours of PSH… and can increase each BY.

    Scenario # 2 – Time Accrued:
    An employee has accrued 40 PSH at the end of the BY #1 and accrues 40 hours again during BY #2 = 80 PSH in their bank. If they do not use any PSH and end BY #2, how is time accrued if/with a cap in place at the beginning of BY #3?:
    1) They would have 80 PSH and would not accrue time until they begin to use / draw down PSH – then once under 80 (the cap) they begin to accrue time
    2) They would accrue time and if they did not use any by the beginning of BY #3 and the cap is now 120 hours… and so on each BY.

    Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Paula Hodge says:

    If an employer does not separate vacation and sick time and allows for 20 days of Paid Time Off (PTO) per year and does not pay out or rollover, but the 20 days are front loaded at the beginning of the year, does that employer have to rollover unused PTO? For example, an employee takes 15 PTO, does the employer have to rollover 5 PTO to the next year such that the employee now gets 25 PTO? Or can the employer simply not rollover any PTO since it front loads more than the required 5 days? Or does the employer have to “technically” rollover the 5 days, but state in the employee manual that the PTO is capped at 20 days irrespective of the amount of days rolled over year after year?

  6. Bruce Totten says:

    How does work in a seasonal business? Peak late Spring and Summer hours with reduction of hours in the Fall and layoffs in late Fall and Winter.

  7. I see that there are email replies to many questions but the answers would be helpful to us all. Could you publish the answers for all to see? It would be greatly appreciated and helpful In understanding this legislation.

  8. Deborah says:

    If an employee has used 2 days PTO and has 3 unused PTO days on December 1st. Does the company have to offer a buy out of the 3 days if not used? I understand that we have to offer to carry over the 3 days to the next year. Just confused about the buy out.

  9. Dawn says:

    If we give 15 vacation days and 6 sick days each year. Would it be better to combine into 21 PTO or are we in compliance as is. If so, not sure how rollover of sick time works as each year we give 6 days which is more than the 40 hours required.

  10. Victoria French says:

    Can you please tell me how you handled employees that have not been employed the whole year and have not accrued a total of 40 hrs.

  11. Jill says:

    We are thinking of front loading the hours an giving everyone 40 hours on the first day of our benefit year. That would be January 1st. Since we are front loading is it fine to just start January 1st or is there something we need to do for the period 10.29.18 through 12.31.18?

  12. Anna says:

    Hi, if my company gives 40 hrs upfront for every employee, what do we do with the employees that started in the middle of the year?

  13. Arlene Steinfield says:

    I am having trouble understanding how an employer’s PTO policy can be drafted to comply with the Paid Sick Leave Act. Specifically, may an employer allow employees to accrue Paid Sick Leave from day 1, but make the employees wait a year of employment before accruing PTO for vacation, personal appointments (not related to sickness). Thankyou.

  14. Michael says:

    Two questions:
    -If i work based on production (so every day i make different amount of $), how should my paid sick leave be calculated?
    -if i decide to leave the company, can my unpaid sick leave be paid to me by the time i leave?

  15. Michelle says:

    I have several questions that I will need clarification on.

    1) Employee starts mid-year, current policy does not provide vacation until they are here for 1 year – at that point they receive 5 vacation days. My understanding is we can accrue for this employee to meet the Sick Time Rules until their bank is earned even though all other employees are front loaded the time. Am I correct?

    2) Are we required to provide Sick Time in addition to what we have always provided as vacation time. (In other words, 5 vacations days were always the norm) If we are now required to provide sick time, is this in addition to? A full time employee under an accrual method would technically accrue more than 40 hours in a year.

    3) If the business chooses to close on specific days (extra days around a holiday, etc.) – are we allowed to let the employee use their sick time for the day’s pay? What are the requirements if an employee doesn’t have the time? (Business decision to close, not the employees choice.)