Newark Close To Becoming Next City To Approve Sick Leave Ordinance

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On January 28, 2014, the Newark City Council approved a sick leave ordinance that would require most private employers in Newark to provide their workers with paid time off. If the mayor of Newark signs this ordinance, Newark will become the second municipality in New Jersey (Jersey City being the first) to require paid time off for private sector employers.

Under this ordinance, which would take effect 120 days after enactment, private employers with 10 or more employees would have to provide five paid sick days each year. Employers with less than 10 employees would have to provide up to three paid sick days each year, with exceptions for those employees who work in child care, food service, and home health care, who would be entitled to five days. Sick leave time would be accrued at a rate of one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked (for both part-time and full-time employees). Newark’s pending ordinance differs from Jersey City’s ordinance in the way it treats small employers. Newark would require paid sick days for all employers, while Jersey City requires paid sick days for large employers, but unpaid sick days for small employers. 

This ordinance would not apply to employees to the extent they are covered by collective bargaining agreements that expressly waive paid sick leave. With respect to employees covered by collective bargaining agreements at the time this ordinance is enacted, the ordinance would not apply until the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. 

The ordinance also includes specific provisions regarding carrying over sick days, permissible reasons for taking leave, notice and recordkeeping obligations, prohibitions against retaliation, and an explicit right to sue.

This article was published in the February 2014 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.