Ask the BPHR Advisor: Earned Sick Leave Final Regulations

Ask the BPHR Advisor: Earned Sick Leave Final Regulations 600 332 Balance Point Team

BPHR’s Director Lisa Salcido, SPHR, SHRM-SCP provides answers to your pressing HR questions.

Question: New Jersey’s mandatory sick leave law is in the news again. Has the law changed?

Answer: On January 6, 2020 New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued the final regulations on the state’s Earned Sick Leave Law (ESLL).

These rules include additional guidance for employers. Here are some highlights.

Establishing a “benefit year”

Previously, employers were required to set the same benefit year for all employees. The DOL will remove that language so that an employer may establish multiple benefit years, including anniversary year. However, in order to change benefit years, employers must still write to the DOL for approval.

Bundled PTO policies

The final rules strongly caution employers trying to satisfy the ESLL requirement with a single PTO bucket of different types of paid time off. The DOL advises against combining all time off (vacation, personal, sick) into one policy, because the requirements and protections under the ESLL would apply to the entire PTO bank. With a bundled policy, all PTO hours would have to meet all of the requirements of the ESLL (accrual/advancement, payout/carryover, payment) and be able to be used for all the acceptable reasons covered within the law.

Acceptable reasons to use earned sick leave

Employees may use earned sick leave for a number of reasons beyond “sickness.” The final regulations clarify that “school-related conferences, meetings, or events” can include non-educational events such as sports, plays, recitals, parties, etc. if parental attendance is requested by a school staff member responsible for the child’s education.

Blackout dates

ESLL allows employers to prohibit “foreseeable” leave during “verifiable high volume periods.” However, the DOL declined to set a maximum total number of days per benefit year that an employer may designate as “blackout dates,” leaving it up for interpretation for now.

To find out more about what the DOL addressed in the ESLL final rules, and what amendments are coming in the future, be sure to download our on-demand webinar: New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Law Final Regulations.

Take a More Balanced Approach to HR

With BPHR, an HR Generalist will help you navigate employment law ensuring your compliance so you can focus on more strategic tasks. Schedule your free phone consultation today to learn how your organization can benefit from our services.

Have a question for Lisa? Email her directly.

DISCLAIMER: The material presented on this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion. 

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