United States: Jersey City Passes Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Last Updated: October 15 2013
Article by Michelle Seldin Silverman

The ordinance, which takes effect on January 23, 2014, imposes new burdens on employers doing business in New Jersey's second-largest city.

On September 25, the City Council of Jersey City, New Jersey, passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave for employees. With the adoption of the ordinance, Jersey City has joined a fast-growing list of states and municipalities around the United States that now require mandatory paid sick leave for most employees. Although Jersey City is the first city in New Jersey to enact such a provision, a similar law that would cover employees throughout New Jersey has been introduced in the State Assembly. Jersey City's ordinance will go into effect on January 23, 2014.

What will the ordinance provide to employees?

Under the ordinance, employees will begin to accrue sick leave immediately upon being hired, but they will not be eligible to use the leave until after 90 days of employment. Sick leave will accrue at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employees will be able to accrue a maximum of 40 hours of sick leave per calendar year and will be able to carry over this leave from year to year, but they cannot accrue more than 40 hours at any given time and cannot use more than 40 hours per calendar year. The law does not require employers to "cash out" accrued but unused sick leave upon termination of employment unless the employer has a policy or contractual obligation to do so.

The law requires employers to provide new hires with written notice of their rights and mandates that employers post a notice regarding sick leave benefits.

Employers that already provide their employees with sick leave beyond what is mandated by the new ordinance will not be required to provide additional sick leave. However, as discussed more fully below, employers must be cautious to ensure that the sick leave they provide covers the same purposes required by the ordinance.

Who is covered?

The ordinance covers all employees who work within Jersey City. In addition, employees of Jersey City–based businesses who are not themselves based in Jersey City are covered by the ordinance if they work at least 80 hours per year within city limits. Jersey City businesses with 10 or more employees (whether the employees are located within Jersey City or not) will be required to provide paid sick leave, while those with fewer than 10 employees need only provide unpaid leave.

When may employees take leave?

Eligible employees may use sick leave to address their own or a family member's mental or physical illness, injury, or condition or to care for a child whose school or daycare has been closed due to a public health emergency.

What notice and documentation must employees provide?

Employees are obligated to provide their employers notice of their need for leave "as soon as practicable" and may make requests for leave orally. An employer may require documentation to substantiate the need for leave only after an employee has used more than three consecutive days of sick leave. Employers may not require employees to provide a description or explanation of the illness or condition necessitating their leave, and employers must accept a medical note indicating merely that sick leave was necessary.

Key Differences Between the Jersey City Law and Existing State and Federal Laws

Employers should be aware of several key differences between the Jersey City ordinance and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA). These differences include the following:

  • The ordinance allows an employee to use sick leave to care for a child whose school or daycare facility is closed because of a public health emergency. Leave for this purpose would not generally be covered by either the NJFLA or the FMLA.
  • The ordinance does not allow an employer to ask for documentation to substantiate the need for leave unless the employee uses more than three consecutive days. Even then, employers may not require any information regarding the nature of the condition that necessitated the leave. This will complicate the ability of employers to assess whether a given illness may be protected by the FMLA and/or the NJFLA.
  • The ordinance creates a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation whenever an employer takes adverse action against an employee who reported a violation of the ordinance, opposed any policy or practice that is unlawful under the ordinance, or "inform[ed] any person of his or her potential rights" under the ordinance.
  • The ordinance requires employers to maintain, for three years, records showing the hours worked and sick leave accrued and used by employees and to permit the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services to inspect such records upon request.

Recommendations

To ensure compliance with the ordinance, employers who operate in Jersey City should consider taking the following actions in advance of January 23, 2014:

  • Determine which employees, if any, will be covered by the ordinance and issue the required notice once the ordinance goes into effect.
  • Review sick leave policies to ensure that they are meeting or exceeding the provisions of the ordinance.
  • Train managers and human resources employees about the ordinance and make sure they are aware of the ordinance's antiretaliation provisions.
  • Ensure that time and payroll records are sufficiently detailed to reflect the amount of sick leave accrued and used by covered employees.

Copyright 2013. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights Reserved.

This article is provided as a general informational service and it should not be construed as imparting legal advice on any specific matter.

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.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
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
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
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.

Disclaimer

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.

Registration

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.

Cookies

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.

Links

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.

Mail-A-Friend

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.

Emails

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 .

Security

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.