United States: If Pain, Yes Gain—Part XXII: Morristown No. 13 In New Jersey To Pass Paid Sick Leave Law

Seyfarth Synopsis: Following the path of 12 other New Jersey municipalities, on September 13, 2016, the Morristown, NJ, Town Council passed a mandatory paid sick leave ordinance (the "Morristown Ordinance"). The ordinance becomes effective on October 4, 20161 and improves New Jersey's standing as the state with the most municipal paid sick leave laws in the country – the total now at 13 municipalities.2

The Morristown Ordinance substantially tracks the requirements of sick leave laws passed in many other New Jersey municipalities. For instance, the Morristown Ordinance requires private employers with 10 or more employees to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year, while smaller private employers need only provide up to 24 hours of paid sick time per year. Employers with a paid leave policy, such as PTO, that is equal to or more generous than the Morristown Ordinance, and which allows paid leave to be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions as the Morristown Ordinance, are not required to offer additional leave.

How Much Sick Time Must Be Provided?

Employees begin accruing paid sick time on their first day of employment at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked by an employee, up to an annual cap of either 40 or 24 hours depending on the size of the employer.3 Exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act are assumed to work 40 hours each week, or their normal workweek if fewer than 40 hours, for purposes of paid sick time accrual. An employer's size is measured by counting all employees performing work for compensation on a full-time, part-time, or temporary basis. It is unclear if this determination is based on overall workforce size or only the company's workforce in Morristown.

For all employers, an employee is deemed eligible for paid sick time if he or she works in Morristown for at least 80 hours per year.4 Individuals employed by a government entity or who are members of construction unions and covered by a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") are not covered. Importantly, the Morristown Ordinance will not apply to employees covered by a CBA where such requirements are expressly waived in the CBA in clear and unambiguous terms. For employees currently covered by a CBA, the Ordinance's terms will not apply until that CBA expires.

How Do Employees Use Sick Time?

Employees can begin using accrued paid sick time starting on the 90th day following the start of their employment, and thereafter as it accrues. The Morristown Ordinance is silent on whether this 90-day usage waiting period applies to employees who work for the employer on the Ordinance's effective date. Given the ambiguity, employers likely should take a conservative approach and treat the 90-day usage waiting period as only applying to employees hired after the Morristown Ordinance's effective date. Employees can use paid sick time in the smaller of either hourly increments or the smallest increment that the employer's payroll system uses to account for absences or use of other time.

Employees are entitled to carry over up to 40 hours of accrued, unused paid sick time from one year to the next. However, regardless of carryover balances, employers are not required to allow employees to use more than 40 hours of paid sick time per year. Notably, employers are not required to carry over accrued, unused paid sick time if the employee is paid for any unused sick time at the end of the year in which the time was accrued.

Under What Circumstances May Employees Use Sick Time?

Employees may use accrued paid sick time for the following reasons: (a) medical diagnosis, care or treatment of the employee's or a covered family member's mental or physical illness, injury or health condition, or need for preventive care; (b) where the employee's place of business, or the employee's child's school or daycare center has been closed due to a public health emergency, or (c) care for a family member whose presence in the community would jeopardize the health of others due to the family member's exposure to a communicable disease.

Family member includes an employee's (1) child;5 (2) parent;6 (3) spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner; (4) grandparent; (5) grandparent's spouse, civil union partner or domestic partner; (6) grandchild; and (7) sibling.

What Employers Can and Cannot Do

Verification of Need for Sick Time: Employers can request, following the use of paid sick time, that an employee confirm in writing that the time was used for an authorized purpose under the Morristown Ordinance. Employers also may require employees to submit reasonable documentation that the paid sick time was used for a permitted purpose where the employee has used paid sick time for three consecutive days or three consecutive instances. While employers may require a medical professional's note for this purpose, they cannot require that the documentation explain the nature of the illness.

Confidentiality and Nondisclosure: An employer may not require disclosure of the specific details of an employee or the employee's family member's medical condition as a condition of providing paid sick time, and must generally treat any such health information as confidential.

Employee Notice of Need for Sick Time: If the need for leave is foreseeable, employers may require employees to provide notice up to seven days prior to the date of the leave. Where the need is unforeseeable, however, the employer may require notification prior to the start of the workday or shift, except in emergencies where the employer can only require that notice be provided as soon as practicable.

Interference and Retaliation: Employers shall not interfere with, restrain, or deny an employee's exercise of, or attempt to exercise, any rights under the Morristown Ordinance. Employers also cannot retaliate against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the Ordinance.

Separation of Employment: Upon separation of employment, an employer is not required to "cash out" an employee's accrued, unused paid sick time. An employer is obligated to reinstate any accrued, unused sick time if the employee is rehired within six (6) months of separation.

What Happens If I Violate the Ordinance?

Employees may file complaints against an employer with the Morristown Department of Administration (the "Department"), or Morristown Municipal Court. Employers found to be in violation may be subject to a fine of up to $2,000, in addition to restitution of any unpaid sick time unlawfully withheld.

What Should Employers Do Now?

Businesses with operations in Morristown should take steps now to ensure that they achieve full compliance with the new law prior to its quickly approaching October 4, 2016 effective date. To this end, employers must be aware of the Morristown Ordinance's notice, posting, and record retention requirements.

Notice and Posting: Employers must give employees notice of certain rights under the Morristown Ordinance at the commencement of their employment or, for current employees, as soon as practicable after the Ordinance becomes effective. Additionally, a poster of those same rights must be displayed in a conspicuous and accessible place in each of the employer's establishments where eligible employees work. The poster must be in English and any language that is the first language of at least 10% of the employer's workforce. The Department can, and likely will, create a model notice and/or poster in the near future. We will be sure to advise you in the event that such notices become available.

Record Retention: Employers must allow the Department to have reasonable access to records and to monitor compliance with the requirements of the Morristown Ordinance. Failure to maintain records documenting hours worked and paid sick time taken by an employee will create a rebuttable presumption that the employer is violating the Morristown Ordinance, absent "clear and convincing evidence" of compliance. While the Morristown Ordinance is silent on how long employers must maintain these records, best practice suggests that employers retain the required records for at least four years as that is the most generous standard expressly stated in existing state and local paid sick leave laws.


1 The Morristown Ordinance states that it becomes effective "upon passage and publication in accordance with applicable law." Morristown representatives have indicated that this occurs 20 days after the Ordinance is signed by Morristown Mayor Timothy Dougherty, which took place on September 14, 2016.

2 The other New Jersey municipalities that have enacted or approved paid sick leave laws are: (1) Newark; (2) Passaic; (3) East Orange; (4) Paterson; (5) Irvington; (6) Montclair; (7) Trenton; (8) Bloomfield; (9) Jersey City; (10) Elizabeth; (11) New Brunswick; and (12) Plainfield. Here are links to our prior alerts on paid sick leave requirements in New Brunswick, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Newark, Passaic, and Trenton.

3 There is an exception for child care workers, home health care workers, and food service workers, such that employers are required to provide them up to 40 hours of paid sick time, regardless of the employer's size.

4 "Calendar year" is defined as "a regular and consecutive 12 month period, as determined by an employer."

5 Includes a biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild or legal ward, child of a domestic partner or civil union partner, or child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis.

6 Includes a biological, foster, stepparent or adoptive parent or legal guardian of an employee or of 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.

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.