Several measures have been passed or introduced on both the state and federal level to provide paid sick days and paid family and medical leave for workers.
New Jersey Legislation & Laws
New Jersey is leading the way in local and state policy changes to provide working families with increased economic and job security through earned sick days, family leave and increased minimum wage and other laws.
New Jersey Municipal Earned Sick Days Laws
All private sector workers in Jersey City can earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours (5 days) of sick time per year in establishments with 10 or more employees. Establishments with less than 10 employees can earn up to 24 hours of paid sick time per year.
In the Fall of 2014, the momentum for earned sick days swept over New Jersey and various municipalities enacted an Earned Sick Day Ordinance similar to that of Newark
New Jersey State Legislation & Law
The bills, which passed both the Assembly and Senate in 2016 and are sitting on the Govenor's desk, raise the minimum wage from the current $8.38 to $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017, and then by more than $1.25 an hour until 2021. After 2021, the wage floor would increase annually based on changes in the consumer price index.
The last increase was approved November 5, 2013 when New Jersey voters voted for a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25! The amendment also includes an automatic cost-of-living increase each year. The change took effect January 1, 2014.
Proposed bill will allow parents/guardians to attend or participate in school functions or activities of a child of the employee, or accompany the child to medical-related appointments. This bill will also allow parents to take leave in increments as short as two hours.
These bills will provide earned sick leave to workers in New Jersey. For every 30 hours worked, the employee shall accrue one hour of earned sick leave. The employer shall not be required to permit the employee to accrue at any one time, or carry forward from one year to the next, more than 40 hours of earned sick leave if the employer is a small employer (less than 10 employees), or more than 72 hours of earned sick leave if the employer is not a small employer (10 or more employees). The employee may use earned sick leave as it is accrued. There are some differences between the bills, A1446 and A2354, regarding the issue of preemption.
This bill increases the minimum hourly wage that must be paid to employees who customarily and regularly receive gratuities or tips. The bill provides that, after Dec. 31, 2014, an employer may claim a credit for gratuities or tips received by an employee against the hourly wage rate paid to the employee in an amount not to exceed 60 percent of the minimum hourly wage rate required by law, and after Dec. 31, 2015, an employer may claim a credit for gratuities and tips in an amount not to exceed 31 percent of the minimum hourly wage rate required by law.
The bill (A-3912) would amend the "New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law" to clarify that no state or federal minimum wage law shall prevent a county or municipality from establishing and enforcing a higher wage standard unless the state or federal law expressly prohibits the county or municipality from adopting such a change.
This bill increases the weekly amount and duration of family leave insurance (FLI) benefits as follows:
1. The weekly amount of FLI benefits is increased from two thirds of a worker’s average weekly wage to 80% of that average weekly wage, subject to the maximum of 53% of the Statewide average weekly wage for all workers; and
2. The maximum number of weeks of FLI benefits for a period of family temporary disability leave, or for any given 12-month period, is increased from six to twelve weeks. In cases of intermittent leave, the maximum number is increased from 42 days to 84 days. The increases would go into effect on July 1, 2018. As the cost of FLI benefit is funded exclusively by employee contributions, the bill will not increase contributions paid by employers. Moreover, because of changes in the method of calculating the rate of employee contributions and the ending of diversions from the temporary disability insurance (TDI) fund, it is estimated that, under this bill, the employee contribution rate for FLI, when added to the rate they pay for TDI, will not exceed the rate that employees paid for TDI alone before the FLI law was enacted in 2008.
Amends NJ Family Leave Act to provide 48 hours unpaid, job protected leave for workers to “attend or participate in school functions or activities of a child of the employee, including theatrical productions, sporting events, classroom observations, parent-teacher conferences or other meetings concerning the education of the child; or to accompany the child to routine medical or dental appointments, including checkups or vaccinations. The bill gives the employee the option of taking the leave in increments as short as two hours.”
Amends NJ Family Disability Insurance law to provide a first responder, who has a family member, who was also a first responder for the same entity, and who was killed in the line of duty, with up to 52 weeks of paid family leave to be taken within 24 months of the incident.
“Provides that, in the case of covered individuals who are in a marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union and who are taking or eligible to take family temporary disability leave to be with a child following that child’s birth or adoption, benefits may be provided for a maximum of 12 weeks, to be divided between the two individuals at their discretion. All of the disability benefits paid to each spouse, partner, or civil union member during a period of family temporary disability leave with respect to any one birth or adoption shall be for a single continuous period of time for each spouse, except that an employer may permit a covered individual to receive the disability benefits during non-consecutive weeks. Under the bill, the maximum total benefits payable to covered individuals who are in a marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union for any period of family temporary disability leave shall be six times the weekly benefit amount of the higher paid individual in that individual's base year for the first six weeks of family temporary disability leave and six times the weekly benefit amount of the lesser paid individual in that individual's base year for the second six weeks of family temporary disability leave, regardless of which individual takes the leave first or the duration of the leave. The maximum amount shall be computed in the next lower multiple of $1.00, if not already a multiple thereof.”
“This bill requires the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to provide additional data in the annual reports of the temporary disability and family leave insurance programs. Current law requires the commissioner to issue and make available to the public an annual report of these programs that provides data regarding program usage, claimant demographics, program costs and revenues. This bill expands the list of data that must be provided in the annual reports, to include the gross wages of workers receiving benefits, labor union membership of workers receiving benefits, intermittent usage of family leave benefits, the race, ethnicity or national origin of workers receiving benefits, the citizenship status of workers receiving benefits, the educational attainment level of workers receiving benefits, the location of employers employing workers that receive benefits, and whether the employer is private or a governmental entity.”
"This bill requires the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to design and make available to the public on the department’s website a webinar, or some other form of digital media, that provides information on a covered employee’s rights and obligations, including how a covered employee may apply for benefits and what documents are required for such an application, pursuant to the temporary disability insurance law, P.L.1948, c.110 (C.43:21-25 et al.); the family leave insurance law, P.L.2008, c.17 (C.43:21-39.1 et al.); and the “Family Leave Act,” P.L.1989, 3 c.261 (C.34:11B-1 et seq.). The webinar is also required to include information on a covered employer’s rights and obligations under each of these laws."
Other State & Municipal Laws
New York City Council passed the Earned Sick Time Act in June 2013. The bill has since been strengthened with the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as with the support from the majority of the City Council on February 26, 2014. The new and improved Earned Sick Time Act is effective beginning on April 1, 2014. Click here for the New York Earned Sick Time Fact Sheet
The Healthy Families Act would guarantee workers up to seven paid sick days a year to recover from their own illness or to care for a sick family member, and provides paid sick time for diagnostic and medical appointments
The FAMILY Act, introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in the Senate and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in the House of Representatives, would create a paid family leave fund like California’s at the federal level. The bill would provide workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave for their own serious illness; to care for a child, parent or spouse with a serious illness; or to bond with a new child. Workers and employers would each contribute a very small portion of their wages into this insurance program; the self-sustaining fund would mean workers could receive up to 66 percent of their wages while on leave.
The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2009 will provide that 4 of the 12 weeks of parental leave made available to a Federal employee shall be paid leave, and for other purposes.