Jersey City Earned Sick Time Law

The Jersey City Municipal Council passed an Earned Sick Leave Ordinance in September 2013. The municipal law took effect January 24, 2014 and impacts every Jersey City business with 1 or more employees.

The controversial Earned Sick Leave law makes Jersey City the first municipality in the State of New Jersey to require employers to provide workers with Earned Sick Time.

Both Jersey City employers and workers are encouraged to take the time and learn how the new ordinance works. Here is a reading list to get started:

ATTENTION EMPLOYERS: For a variety of reasons, it is critical for employers to develop an attendance system to accurately track their employees’ accrual of sick time and monitor when and why their employees are absent. Failure to do so may result in a lawsuit or civil fines. For questions regarding the ordinance’s requirements, including how to ensure your business is in compliance, contact D’Jamoos Law, a Jersey City employment specialists.

In service to its members, the CASID provides this webpage as an introduction to the new law and supplement to any instruction the City of Jersey City offers employers. Business owners who need further guidance on the new law can also contact the CASID office.

Introduction to Jersey City’s Earned Sick Time Mandate

Earned Sick Time in general is a hot topic in today’s society. Its pros and cons fuel plenty of lively debates. Many established businesses that can provide earned sick time already do. Not every employer, however, may be in a position to offer it especially if the business recently opened its doors for the first time. Regardless, Jersey City took an exclusive one-size-fits-all policy approach towards the Earned Sick Time mandate. Get to know the specifics in Jersey City’s ordinance and pay close attention to:

  • Defining Employees: Anyone who works 80 hours in a calendar year in Jersey City is an employee for the purposes of the law (counts full time, part time, temporary or seasonal employment).
  • Earned Sick Time: Employees can use sick time when sick but also if they need to go to the doctor for preventive care or if they need to care for a family member who is ill or needs to go to the doctor. Employers can not request a doctor’s note unless the employee is out for more than three consecutive days.
  • Calculating Earned Sick Time: Employees earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked with a maximum of 40 hours (5 days) annually.
  • Paid vs Unpaid Earned Sick Time: Employers with 10 or more employees in the previous calendar year must provide up to 40 hours (5 days) of paid sick days to employees who earn it annually. Employers with less than 10 employees must provide up to 24 hours of paid sick time (3 days) and 16 hours of unpaid sick time to employees who earn it annually. All employers in the food service, child care, or health care industries, regardless of size, must provide up to 40 hours (5 days) of paid sick leave to all employees who earn it annually.
  • When Employees Can Start Using Sick Time: Employees begin accruing sick time when they start working but the employer isn’t obligated to give it until the employee’s 90th day on the job.
  • Cashing Unused Sick Time: The law doesn’t require employers to reimburse employees for unused time when they separate from the company.
  • Retaliating Against Employees: The law forbids employers from retaliating against employees who use the sick time they are entitled to.
  • Training Employees on the New Law: Employers of all sizes will be required to give each employee written notice regarding their rights under the new law. Employers must also display a poster in a “conspicuous and accessible” place in each business. Not providing notice of the new law can result in a fine up to $100 for each employee who was not given notice and $500 for each establishment where a poster was not displayed. Posting the flyers provided by the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services and distributing copies to employees satisfies the notice and posting requirements of Section 3-52.2 of the Earned Sick Leave Ordinance. 
  • Employer Records: Employers must retain records for three years documenting the number of hours employees work and how much paid sick time they have taken. Under the new law, the City reserves the right to access employer’s earned sick time documents. Failure to provide the records upon demand will “create a rebuttable presumption” that the employer has violated the law.
  • Violating the Earned Sick Time Law: Employees who believe their employers are not granting earned sick time can contact the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services for help or file a complaint with the Jersey City Municipal Court. The maximum penalty for violating the ordinance shall be a fine of up to $2,000.00 and/ or a period of community service not exceeding ninety (90) days per each individual infraction.

Read the Jersey City Earned Sick Leave Ordinance for more info and full details.