United States: Jersey City Passes Paid Sick Leave Law; Applies To Employees Who Work At Least 80 Hours Per Calendar Year In City

Executive Summary:  The Jersey City Council voted 7-1 to pass a bill that will provide paid sick leave for workers in New Jersey's second largest city.  Any business with 10 or more employees must offer as many as five paid sick days per year.  Businesses with fewer employees will be required to provide unpaid sick days.  The ordinance carries civil penalties, creates a private right of action for aggrieved employees, and empowers the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services to audit employers and investigate and adjudicate complaints.

Which Employers Are Affected?

The law applies to all businesses employing workers who work at least 80 hours in a calendar year in Jersey City, but distinguishes between large and small employers in whether the time must be paid.  Employees of businesses with 10 or more employees in Jersey City can earn up to five paid sick days each year.  Employers with fewer than 10 employees would have to provide five unpaid sick days.  Full-time, part-time, and temporary workers count toward the total number of employees.  If the size of the workforce fluctuates, the number of employees will be calculated based on the average number of employees who worked for compensation during the preceding calendar year. 

How Are Sick Days Accrued And Used?

Under the new law, workers would earn one hour of sick time, paid or unpaid, for each 30 hours worked.  Workers may accrue up to 40 hours of sick time per calendar year.  Workers may begin using sick time on the 90th calendar day of employment.  Sick time may be taken in hourly increments or the smallest unit of time the employer uses to account for absences or other time off.

Employees are permitted to carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick time into a new calendar year.  Furthermore, if an employee is separated from employment but re-hired within six months, previously accrued paid sick time that was not used must be reinstated.  However, employers need not pay out accrued but unused sick time at separation.

The ordinance covers more than just the employee's own illness.  Sick time may be taken for the mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, treatment, medical diagnosis, or preventative care of the employee or the employee's family member.  Family member includes a biological, adopted, or foster child, step-child or legal ward or the child of a domestic partner, civil union partner, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis; a biological, foster, step-parent, or adoptive parent or legal guardian of the employee or the employee's spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner; a person to whom the employee is legally married or with whom the employee has entered into a civil union; a grandparent or spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner of a grandparent; a grandchild; a sibling; and a domestic partner of an employee.  This is a broader definition of family member than that under the federal and state leave laws.  Sick time can also be taken if the employee's workplace is closed by order of a public official, or for the employee's need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency.

Employees need only make a verbal request for sick time, and are only required to provide their employers notice "as soon as practicable."  If an employee requests sick time of more than three consecutive days, the employer may require reasonable documentation that the sick time has been used for a permitted purpose.

What Must Employers Do?

Notices and Posters

Covered employers must provide employees written notice of the law at the commencement of employment.  Employers must also post notice of the law in a conspicuous and accessible place.  The Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services has been charged with creating a poster and individual notices.  Violation of the notice and posting requirements carries a civil fine of up to $100 per employee and $500 per establishment.  


Employers must retain records showing the hours worked and the paid sick leave taken by all employees for a period of three years.  Employers must permit the Department of Health and Human Services access to the records.  An employer's failure to maintain or retain adequate records creates a rebuttable presumption that the employer has violated the ordinance, absent clear and convincing evidence otherwise.

Enforcement and Audits

The Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services will enforce the ordinance.  The Department will take and adjudicate complaints of violations of the ordinance, provide information and outreach about paid sick leave, and create posters and notices for employers.  The Department is also empowered to conduct audits, on-site investigations, and take other measures to ensure employer compliance.  Department investigators may interview employees and former employees privately, and are authorized to determine whether employers have complied with the ordinance.  Violations carry fines up to $1,250 and/or a period of community service not to exceed 90 days.

Anti-Retaliation and Private Right of Action

The ordinance creates a private right of action for aggrieved employees, without the need to first submit a complaint to the Department of Health and Human Services.  Employers may not retaliate against employees for requesting or taking sick time, or filing a complaint about a violation.  The ordinance creates a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation if the employer takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of filing a complaint, informing any person about an alleged violation, cooperating in the investigation or prosecution of any alleged violation, opposing any policy or practice made unlawful by the ordinance, or informing any person about rights available under the ordinance. 

What If An Employer Already Provides Paid Leave?

Any employer with a paid leave policy, such as a paid time off policy, that provides an amount of leave sufficient to meet the total annual accrual requirements of the ordinance that may be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions as paid sick time under the ordinance is not required to provide additional paid sick time.   

What Does this Mean for Employers?

Employers with employees who work in Jersey City at least 80 hours in a calendar year must provide sick time to those employees.  Depending on the number of employees, the leave must either be paid or unpaid.  Employers with paid time off policies should examine their policies to determine if they comply with the new ordinance.  Additionally, employers should be aware of the notice and posting requirements and recordkeeping requirements.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.