Trenton and Montclair became the latest New Jersey municipalities to approve paid sick leave laws in 2014. The issue was put before voters on Election Day and was approved by a comfortable margin in both cities. The Trenton and Montclair ordinances, which will take effect on March 4, 2015, are part of a growing trend in the state of New Jersey which began last year when Jersey City became the first municipality in the State to pass such a law. In early 2014, Newark followed suit with a similar law. Thereafter, Passaic, East Orange, Paterson, and Irvington have all passed paid sick leave laws scheduled to take effect between December 31, 2014 and January 7, 2015. In addition, a bill is pending in the New Jersey State Legislature which would, if passed, make paid sick leave a statewide law.
Trenton and Montclair’s New Laws
Both Trenton and Montclair’s sick leave laws closely follow the Newark law and require that, with limited exception, employers with ten or more employees in those locations provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year. Smaller employers with less than ten employees also must provide sick time, but only up to 24 hours. Under the law, employees accrue at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employees shall begin to accrue sick time at the start of their employment or on the effective date of the law – whichever is sooner – and may begin using the paid time after 90 days of employment. The paid sick time may be used for the following reasons:
- The employee’s own mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition or the employee’s need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of his/her own health condition;
- The employee’s need to care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or who needs medical diagnosis, treatment, or care of same; or who needs preventive medical care;
- The employee’s place of business is closed due to a public health emergency; or an employee’s child’s school or place of care has been closed due to a public health emergency; or to care for a family member who may have been exposed to a communicable disease.