The law firm Jackson Lewis recently examined New Jersey’s final regulations on paid sick leave and why the New Jersey Department of Labor (DOL) included 38 pages of comments from the public hearings and the department’s responses.
“Though short on substantive changes, an extensive comment-and-response section provides more guidance to the DOL’s interpretation and enforcement of the Earn Sick Leave Law (ESLL),” write attorneys James McDonnell and Justin Cutlip. “Significantly, it discusses the ESLL’s interplay with collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), existing paid time off (PTO) policies, and employee leave laws. It also explains the permissible use and payment of ESLL.”
They note one significant change: Employers no longer have to put all employees on the same benefit year. “In the comments, the NJDOL explains that an employer may lawfully utilize an employee’s anniversary year as the benefit year for purposes of the ESLL,” the attorneys write.
Some other items to serve as clarification:
- An employer’s PTO policy must permit an employee to use all of the PTO for reasons covered by the ESLL and provide for payout or carryover in compliance with the ESLL.
- Non-discretionary bonuses (i.e., bonuses measured by hours worked, production, or efficiency) must be included in the calculation of ESLL compensation.
- A failure to pay ESLL constitutes a failure to pay wages in accordance with the New Jersey Wage Payment Law.