Paid Sick Leave Updates in New Jersey and Michigan (article)
New Jersey’s earned sick leave takes effect later this month. In response, the enforcing state agency released the required workplace poster together with a set of proposed rules. And, from ballot to law, Michigan may become the next state to require paid sick leave.
- Updates on New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law
Beginning October 29, 2018, employers in the state of New Jersey are required to provide their employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. As a reminder, this law applies to employers without regard to size. It provides benefits to any employee working in New Jersey without regard to employment status, i.e., both full-time and part-time employees are eligible for the benefit. For a summary of the law, see New Jersey Joins the Earned Sick Leave Party (Benefit Beat, 5/7/18).
Under this law, employers are required to provide written notification of the earned sick leave benefit to its employees 1) upon the date of hire, 2) upon request by the employee; and 3) within 30 days following issuance of the notice by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD). In addition, the employer is required to post a notice of the provisions of the earned sick time benefit in a conspicuous place at its worksite locations in both English and Spanish, as well as in the primary language of the majority of the employer’s workforce. To assist employers in their notification obligations, the DLWD issued a model workplace notice/poster in 13 different languages that can be used for this purpose. The notice can be provided electronically, either by posting it on the employer’s internet site or intranet site that is exclusively used and accessible by employees; or, it can be provided individually to employees by email.
In addition, the agency released proposed rules on September 13, 2018 in its effort to implement the law. The proposed rules clarify certain matters relating to employee eligibility, the accrual, use, payment, payout and carry over of earned sick leave, notification requirements, the prohibition against retaliatory personnel actions and discrimination, as well as recordkeeping requirements. The rules are scheduled for publication on October 15th, followed by a hearing on November 13th. The comment period on these rules ends December 14, 2018. The DLWD encourages affected employers to review these rules in anticipation of the law’s effective date.
- Michigan joins the paid sick leave ranks, maybe
On September 5, 2018, the Michigan Legislature passed an earned sick leave law as a result of citizen-initiated movement initiative. The passage of this legislation ensures that the sick leave question will not appear on the November ballot. Since this was a citizen-initiated action, the legislation becomes law without the requirement of the governor’s signature, according to Michigan law. What this also means is that the Legislature may modify the newly enacted law by a simple majority vote rather than the 75% vote which would be required had the measure become law by a vote of the general population. It is expected that the Legislature will consider changes to the law following the general November elections.
The law as it stands today requires employers in Michigan to provide one hour of paid sick leave to its employees for every 30 hours worked. The earned sick leave benefit would be available to virtually all employees. Individuals are entitled to accrue up to 72 hours of earned leave per year, which can be used to attend to the health needs of the individual or his/her family member (defined very broadly). Employers employing fewer than 10 employee need only provide 40 hours of paid leave; 32 hours may be unpaid. Further, the earned sick leave can be used to obtain victim services in the case of domestic violence, or used for school visitation or time off when schools or offices are closed.
The law is scheduled to take effect on April 19, 2019. Employers with employees in Michigan will want to keep an eye on developments after the November elections.
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