United States: Changes To Paid Sick Time In New Jersey: Elizabeth Becomes 10th Municipality To Require Paid Sick Leave And Jersey City Expands Its Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On October 29, 2015, the City Council in Jersey City, New Jersey voted to broaden the scope of its paid sick leave ordinance, which was enacted in 2013. Just five days later, on November 3, 2015, voters in Elizabeth, New Jersey approved a paid sick leave law, becoming the 10th municipality in New Jersey to require private employers to provide paid sick time to their employees.1


Elizabeth's law takes effect on March 2, 2016. The law largely follows the language of the paid sick leave ordinances in the nine other New Jersey municipalities with paid sick leave laws.

Covered Employers & Employees

The ordinance applies to all private employers regardless of size, although the amount of paid sick leave time provided to employees varies based upon the total number of employees. An employee is eligible for paid sick leave if he or she works at least 80 hours in a calendar year. Employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement are permitted to waive the requirements of paid sick leave laws in their collective bargaining agreement.

Accrual, Advances, Caps, and Carry-Over

Employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. For employers with 10 or more employees, total paid sick time is capped at 40 hours per year. For employers with 10 or fewer employees, paid sick time is capped at 24 hours per year. Employers of child care workers, home health workers, and food service workers are required to provide 40 hours per year – regardless of their total number of employees. Exempt employees are assumed to work 40 hours per week for purposes of accrual under the ordinances. Employees may not start to use their accrued sick time until their 90th day of employment.

Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of unused, accrued sick time to the following year. However, even if time is carried over from the previous year, employers are not required to allow employees to use more than 40 hours of paid sick time in a single calendar year. Moreover, if the employer pays the employees for accrued, unused sick time at the end of the year, then it is not required to carry the time over. Payment of accrued, unused sick days is not required upon termination of employment.

Employers with a paid leave policy (a "Paid Time Off" or "PTO" policy) may continue to use such a policy in lieu of a specific paid sick leave policy provided the paid leave granted pursuant to the policy is sufficient to meet the total annual accrual requirement set forth in the ordinances. Employees must be able to use leave under such a policy for the same purposes and under the same conditions as allowed under the paid sick leave law.

Permitted Uses

Employees can use sick time for the medical diagnosis, care or treatment of their own or their family member's mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition.2 Paid sick leave can also be used when an employee's place of business or the school or day care of an employee's child is closed due to a public health emergency, or if the employee must care for a family member who has been officially quarantined due to exposure to a communicable disease. Paid sick time may be used in hourly increments or the smallest increment that the employer's payroll system uses to account for time off.

Employee Notice and Documentation

The law allows employers to require reasonable advance notice of an employee's use of paid sick time, if foreseeable, although employers cannot require advance notice of more than seven days. If the leave is not foreseeable, the employer may require notice before the beginning of the employee's work shift or work day, or as soon as practicable in emergencies.

For sick time of more than three consecutive days (or three consecutive instances, if used in increments less than one day), an employer can require reasonable documentation signed by a healthcare professional that the sick time has been used for a covered purpose. An employer cannot require, however, that documentation explain the nature of the illness.

Notice and Posting Requirements

Employers must provide individual written notice to each employee about his or her rights under the ordinance at the time employment commences (or as soon as practicable if the employee is already employed as of the effective date of the ordinance). Employers must also display a poster containing notice of the ordinance in a conspicuous place in each business establishment where employees are employed. The notice must be in English and any other language that is the primary language of more than 10% of the employer's workforce.

Non-Retaliation and Penalty for Non-Compliance

Employers who violate the paid sick leave ordinance may be fined and ordered to pay restitution to the employee of any amount of paid sick leave unlawfully withheld. Also, employers cannot retaliate against any employee for exercising his/her rights under a paid sick leave ordinance.


The 2015 amendments to Jersey City's paid sick time ordinance aim to conform the ordinance to the more generous paid sick leave ordinances in other New Jersey municipalities. The most significant amendment provides employees of businesses with fewer than 10 employees up to 24 hours of paid sick time per year and, following the exhaustion of the 24 hours, up to 16 hours of unpaid sick time per year. Prior to this amendment, the ordinance only provided unpaid sick time to employees of businesses with fewer than 10 employees. The amendments include an exception for child care workers, health care workers, and food service workers, who, regardless of the size of the employer, are required to receive 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Further, employers with fewer than 10 employees are prohibited from mandating that employees exhaust unpaid sick time before using paid sick time.

The amendments also create an exception for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, allowing collective bargaining agreements to contain a clear and unambiguous waiver of the paid sick time leave law. Further, the definition of employee now specifically excludes members of a construction union who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. In addition, the maximum penalty for violation of the statute has increased from $1,250 to $2,000.

The amendments also provide guidance on how to determine the number of employees performing work for an employer and instruct that full-time, part-time and temporary employees should be counted. When the number of employees fluctuates from year to year, the amendments clarify that employers should determine the number of employees for the current calendar year based upon the average number of employees who worked during the prior calendar year.

Jersey City, New Jersey's second largest city, was the first municipality in New Jersey to enact paid sick leave legislation.3


Employers operating in Elizabeth and Jersey City should:

  • Review and revise, if necessary, sick leave policies and procedures to ensure they meet the ordinances' requirements.
  • Monitor Elizabeth's public notices and website for template notices, workplace posters, and trends with regard to enforcement.
  • For Elizabeth employers, obtain posters and display them in a conspicuous place.
  • Monitor Jersey City's Paid Sick Leave webpage for information regarding future updates to Jersey City's paid sick leave ordinance.
  • Audit timekeeping, payroll, and benefits systems to ensure they properly calculate, track, and detail accrued and used sick time.
  • Train supervisory and managerial employees, as well as human resources and payroll personnel, on the ordinances' requirements.


1. The other municipalities, besides Jersey City, are Newark, East Orange, Patterson, Passaic, Trenton, Montclair, Irvington, and Bloomfield.

2. A "family member" includes a biological, adopted, or foster child; stepchild or legal ward; a child of a domestic partner; a child of a civil union partner; or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis; a biological, foster, stepparent, or adoptive parent or legal guardian of an employee or an employee's spouse, domestic partner or civil union partner or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child; a person to whom the employee is legally married under the laws of New Jersey or any other state 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 domestic partner; or a sibling.

3. See Sebastian Chilco, Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Adopted in Jersey City, New Jersey, Littler Insight (Oct. 22, 2013).

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.


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.