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March 18, 2014

New Local Government Laws impacting New Jersey Employers

The trend continues for local jurisdictions to establish a variety of leave and other types of protections, similar to those discussed in our prior Benefit Beat article, More Local Governments Enact Leave Laws, 12/11/13).

 New Jersey Pregnancy Discrimination Act

On January 21, 2014, Governor Christie signed a bill into law (S2995/A4486) that protects pregnant workers from discrimination and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations so that they can stay on the job. This law takes effect immediately and expands the anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation protections of New Jersey’s “Law Against Discrimination” to those who are pregnant or have recently given birth.

This law requires employers to make reasonable workplace accommodations for their pregnant employees including:

  • Allowing periodic breaks and rest;
  • Manual labor assistance;
  • Job restructuring or modified work schedules; and 
  • Temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work, especially when recommended by the employee’s attending physician.

The law also requires that any paid or unpaid leave provided to a pregnant employee must be comparable to any accommodation or leave provided to a non-pregnant worker.

City of Newark’s Sick Leave Ordinance

On January 28, 2014, the Municipal Council of Newark, New Jersey, enacted an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The Ordinance becomes effective May 29, 2014.

Employers with 10 or more employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year.  Employers with fewer than 10 employees are to provide up to 24 hours of paid sick time per calendar year. Employers of child care workers, home health care workers and food service workers are to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year. In determining the number of employees performing work for an employer, all employees performing work for compensation on a full-time, part-time, or temporary basis are counted.

For purposes of this Ordinance, an employee is one who works in the City of Newark for at least 80 hours in a year.

The accrued paid sick time can be used in the following instances:

  • For the employee’s or his/her family member’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, or need for preventive medical care; and
  • When a public health emergency warrants closure of a place of business or public school.

An affected employer is required to allocate a minimum of one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked by an employee. Employees begin to accrue paid sick time on the first day of employment. Employees are entitled to use accrued paid sick time beginning on the 90th calendar day of their employment; after which they could use paid sick time as it is accrued. Employers providing a comparable paid leave policy as required by the Ordinance need not provide additional paid sick time.

 

 

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