New Jersey is set to join several other states in a growing trend mandating employer-paid sick time. The New Jersey sick time law goes into effect on October 29th, 2018 and employees will begin accruing sick time on that date. The new law creates one statewide standard and preempts any previously enacted municipal sick leave ordinances.
Sick Time Law Around the US
Federal law does not require that employers pay employees when they take off sick from work. However, many states have begun making their own laws so that employees can have this benefit. As of this writing, New Jersey is the 10th state in the nation to enact a paid sick time law. The states include:
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
Several cities, such as New York, also have sick time laws. The list of cities and states is rapidly growing.
New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Law
The New Jersey law is comparable to other state laws.
- Every employer must offer the paid sick leave benefit to every employee. No employers are exempt and all employees are eligible.
- Employers must offer employees 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. This can be capped at 40 hours. The time cannot be cleared out at the end of the year but it can be capped so that it stops accruing once it reaches 40 hours.
- The sick time can accrue by hours worked or can be front loaded.
- The law does not have to replace a company’s current PTO policy. If the company has a PTO, vacation, or sick time policy which offers at least 40 hours, then the company is in compliance with the law.
- Employees can begin using the sick time after they have been with the company for 120 days.
- Tipped employees must be paid at least the regular minimum wage for sick time, rather than the lower minimum wage for tipped employees.
For more information about what reasons qualify for sick pay and for other details, refer to the fact sheet.
For answers to common questions about the law refer to this FAQ.
Staying Compliant With the Law
The paid sick time law requires that employees accrue 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, with a max of 40 hours. Employers can front-load that 40 hours but this method will overcompensate part-time employees. The best way to ensure you’re not overcompensating your employees is to track the sick time by their actual hours worked.
How to Simplify Sick Time Tracking
Tracking by hours worked would be a time-consuming process without an online time-off tracking system. Timesheets.com accruals tracking system tracks paid sick time automatically so you don’t have to do any conversions and calculations. It stores all the numbers too so a separate file for recordkeeping isn’t needed.
At Timesheets.com, we know that accruals can be confusing so we’re happy to help you understand the numbers and set up time off tracking for your employees. When you start your free trial, we will be in touch!
IF my company offers 10 sick/personal days in addition to my vacation can they legally give a write up if I use over 4 sick/pesonal days?
I am a bit confused by your question. You mentioned that you receive 10 sick/personal days, and only used 4 of those days, meaning that you shouldn’t have a problem. If you used 14 sick/personal days altogether, that may be an issue at your workplace. I assume that your management created a sick time policy. If they put a “cap” of 80 sick/personal hours, then you may have gone over the “cap” amount. You may want to talk to management to understand what your sick time policy is.
My boss said that being that I’m Part time and only work 22 hrs a week I don’t get any sick time pay. They said I’d have to work 40 hrs a week to get an hr.sick time…is this true?
This will depend on your state’s sick time policy. Most states require employers to give sick time to ALL employees, no matter their status. In California, for instance, an employee who works or 30 or more days within a year from the beginning of employment is entitled to accrue paid sick leave. Employees, including part-time and temporary employees, earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked.
I recently quit a position with a private employer and I had earned sick time, am I eligible to get paid for the sick time I earned? Also last year I had 10 sick days acrued can an employer refuse to let me carry them over?
New Jersey doesn’t require employers to pay out any vacation time or sick time; however, an if your contract states that your employer will pay you out, they must do so. To answer your question about your accrued sick days: your employer can choose whether or not they want to carry your hours over or not.
I am confused too.. if my part time employee took off , do I need to pay that 4 hours as sick time ?
Every employee is entitled to sick time pay in New Jersey, no matter their status. If they employee took off hours as “sick time”, then they must get compensated for those hours. So you need to find out if the employee just didn’t work OR if the employee specifically took sick time.
One more question, I need to pay 1 hour of sick day for every 30 hours regardless they call sick or not? That means I need to pay additional amount of 30 to 40 hours?
The sick time policy is only for the hours that the employee actually works; employees don’t accrue sick time hours while they’re not working. If the employee is not working hours, the employee will not accrue any sick time hours. For example, if an employee worked 20 hours and then took 8 hours of sick time in a week, the “by hours worked” rule would not count for the 8 hours of sick time that the employee took. Only the 20 hours would count towards the “by hours worked” accrual. In this specific employee’s case, she would have earned 0.66666 hours of sick time during the week. Here’s the calculation: 1/30= 0.033333; 0.033333 X 20 Hours= 0.6666666 hours.
Can an employer in NJ hold you accountable for a call out for calling out sick then write you up for it even though you have a legitimate note from your doctor stating you are required to stay out due to illness. I had this happen to me at work. I have a heart condition that is very serious. They basically told me even our union wouldn’t care if we had the note. I was hospitalized 4 days the written up when I got back. I thought in NJ employers could not hold absences against you for using your earned sick time for this.
Hi James. I suggest that you consult with legal counsel in your area who understands your employment contracts.
Starting January 2020 as being a full time employee and working 40 hours do I have sick time the 1st of January. We are told that we have to work 10 weeks to accumulate one day
Under law, employees can begin using the sick time after they have been with the company for 120 days. That being said, your employer can hold your sick time earnings until then. If you’re in New Jersey, you’ll start collecting 1 sick time hour for every 30 hours that you work.
State of NJ employee…if i used all of my sick days fir the yr as of Dec 2019….can they dock my pay if i become sick after that?? Flu etc??
According to the US Department of Labor, an employer is allowed to deduct an employee’s pay “For absences of one or more full days due to sickness or disability if the deduction is made in accordance with a bona fide plan, policy or practice of providing compensation for salary lost due to illness”. To be sure, you can always contact your local labor board so they can assist you.
If one has accrued their 40 hours and depleted those 40 hours in one year, at the start of the following year, the employee has no sick time.
Since accrual is capped at 40 hours, if you accrued and use all those hours by October 2019, at the start of 2020 there is no sick time because the accrual stopped in October.
Is that correct?
The cap is really dependent on when the employee’s policy went into place. If the employee’s accruals started in october, they would end in october, and the accrual process would start all over again. Whether you started in January, March, November, your accrual range is an entire year. If the employee got their hours front-loaded in october with 40 hours, they would get their new hours on the same day in the following year. The 40 hour cap basically means that they will stop accruing more sick hours after they obtain 40, but they will start accruing again once the cap year is over.
Question for New Jersey Sick Leave – are we supposed to include overtime hours worked towards the accrual rate or just the regular hours worked?
for example if an employee worked 40 Reg. and 15 OT that’s a total of 55 hrs for that week so instead of 1.333 hours accrued its now 1.833?
An hour worked is an hour worked, whether it’s overtime or not. You wouldn’t change the accrual rate for an overtime hour.
I work at a restaurant, in which I realized I have 116 hours of sick time. The owner has never mentioned that I can use these hours. I have called out sick before and he never mentioned or paid me for that sick day. So when I confront him about it , can he say deny that these hours are mine to use.
interesting question. I assume you’re in New Jersey– You get 40 hours of sick time yearly (which is 1 sick time hour for every 30 hours you work). If you have sick time hours available, your employer should use your allotted sick time hours when you’re out sick, which means you should get paid for those hours that you’re not at work. Do you have an HR rep that you can speak with at work?
No is a small family owned business
Okay. If that’s the case I would suggest that you have a conversation with your employer about your sick time policy. You’re legally obligated to the sick hours you earn, so he can’t deny you from using them.
how sick pay is paid for commission people?
Commission-based employees get 1 hour of sick pay every 30 hours worked just like other employees covered under the NJ Earned Sick Leave Law. Your pay rate for this calculation will be the hourly base wage or the state minimum wage– whatever is greater.
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New Jersey Sick Time Law – Track By Hours Worked
We are in NJ and use temp labor. Sick time has accrued. Who pays the sick time, the temp labor company or us? Technically, they are employees of the temp company.
Hi there. Typically the temp agency is responsible for paying the employee along with any benefits or other issues that may arise. You may want to consult with the temp agency to review your contract.
Hello, I am in NJ and have 40 hours of sick time rolled over from last year. i only work 15 hours a week. Can I use the 40 hours in one week, if I am only averaging less than half of that?
Hi Tania. That policy will be up to your employer, so you’ll want to speak with him/her regarding how to ask for time off and how much time off you’re allowed to take.
Can an employer use employees Anniversary date to pay out sick time to track time or It has to be an official date for the whole company and do I still have to wait again to accumulate my time or use my time at 120 days I use all my time already and was wondering if I have to wait till my anniversary I’m in the security industry in NJ Thanks
Hi Bruno. I’m a bit confused by your question, but I’ll try my best! When you say “pay out” sick time, the term “pay out” itself means that your employer is compensating you for your unused PTO after you leave the company. You can read more about payouts in this article. Regarding the day when you actually start earning your sick hours, that date is set up entirely up to your employer. Your employer, under New Jersey law, may choose when employees start accruing sick leave on any day that they choose. Ultimately, your employer sets up your time off policy along with any rollover policies you might have. That being said, you’re going to want to check with your supervisor or HR department so they can clarify what their policy for sick leave is. They’re the only ones who will be able to tell you when you’ll start earning sick leave again.
If I accrue sick time hours in one bank and PTO hours in another bank per pay period (this has always been my employers policy) can my employer force me to use PTO time instead of sick time for up to 40 hours if I needed to take off to care for my domestic partner’s unexpected health problems?
Technically your employer has the final say when it comes to your time off policy. You may want to speak with your HR representative to get further information about your time off policy.
I am a salaried employee in NJ. Can I take sick pay in hours? Leave 2 hours early for a doctor’s appointment etc?
Hi Janet. New Jersey’s sick time law, as of 2018, requires employers to give employees 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work. That being said, if you’ve accrued sick leave hours, you are allowed to use your hours as sick time. You may want to speak with your supervisor to see how many sick hours you’ve accrued.
I am a part time employee in NJ. I worked 710 hours last year, divided by 30 gives me 23-24 hours of paid sick days. I typically work 8 hours a day, 3 days per week. They are giving me 2 days of sick time (16 hours) what happens to my other 7 hours? Shouldnt I be paid in hours not days since I am an hourly employee or is it up to them what they decide. What does the law say on this?
Under New Jersey law, employees earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours they work; therefore, yes, you should have earned approximately 23.6 hours of sick time. You should be able to use those sick hours during any 12-year period (your employer chooses then your year starts). I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “Shouldn’t I be paid in hours not days”, however, if you are an hourly employee, your employer must pay you at least the minimum wage for every hour you work.
I’m only entitled to have 3 sick/ personal days and 10 vacation days and when I want to take off my boss makes me use my sick/personal days and when those are used up she makes me use my vacation days. Can she make me use my days even if I don’t ask for it???
Hi Anita, your employer can technically require employees to use their PTO at any time– as long as they’re not breaking laws or contracts. You can read this article for more information: https://blog.timesheets.com/2020/06/can-employers-require-employees-to-use-pto/
So, I am employed in the state of New Jersey at a local retailer. Whenever I or one of my coworkers want to use sick time, we are not allowed to be paid our sick time by our employer if the hours we took off are above our average hours worked per week. Example: an employee wants to take off an 8 hour shift during a 40 hour work week. Because their yearly average is around 28.8 hours/week, they are not allowed to use any sick time unless they were to take off another 8 hour day that same week. At that point, the amount of sick time used would be only given up to their 28.8 average.
My question is this: If we use our sick time, are we supposed to be paid for the hours that we were supposed to work for that shift, or can our employer use this average hours system to prevent having to pay an employee more than what they normally make on average?
According to the NJ rule, you’re supposed to earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every hour you work. They must compensate you with your hourly wage. I’m not exactly sure why your employer would use the average to calculate your regular rate of pay. I suggest that you speak with your local labor board to get clarification about this.