Jersey City Council Votes To Require Business Owners to Provide Paid Sick Leave To Employees Regardless of Size

10.29.2015

By: Dina M. Mastellone

On October 28, 2015, the Jersey City Council voted 7-1-1 to adopt Ordinance No. 15.145 which requires employers with fewer than 10 employees, including part time and temporary employees who work at least 80 hours, to provide for up to 24 hours of paid sick time per year. In addition, once an employee has accrued 24 hours of paid sick time, they shall accrue unpaid sick time up to a maximum of 16 hours per year.  In addition, employees who have accrued both paid and unpaid sick time shall not be required to exhaust unpaid sick time before using compensated sick time. Ordinance No. 15.145 amends and supplements the Jersey City Municipal Code. The Jersey City Council in 2013 was the first city in New Jersey to require private employers with more than 10 employees to provide paid sick time up to a maximum of 40 hours per year.  The new Ordinance takes effect on December 28, 2015, 60 days after enactment. Paid sick time begins to accrue at the commencement of employment and employees are permitted to use accrued sick time after the 90th day of employment.  Employers are also required to give individual written notice to each of their employees at the commencement of employment (or as soon as practicable if the employee is already employed on the effective date of the new law) and display a poster approved by the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services in a conspicuous and accessible place. Employers also face fines for failure to post the notice and for each employee who did not receive the notice. Employers must also retain records for 3 years documenting hours worked by employees and paid sick time taken by employees. Another important change is that the provisions of the new Ordinance shall not apply to employees covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to the extent that such requirements are expressly waived in the CBA in clear and unambiguous terms. Nothing prohibits an employer from the adoption or retention of a paid sick time policy more generously than the one required by the new Jersey City ordinance. Maximum fines for non-compliance under the new law will also increase from $1,250 to $2,000 per violation. For more information on the new ordinance, or for information on paid sick time laws in other jurisdictions, please contact Dina M. Mastellone, Esq., Director of the firm’s Human Resources Practice Group, at dmastellone@genovaburns.com or 973-533-0777.

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