New Jersey’s Expansion of Paid Family Leave
On July 1, 2020, New Jersey’s expanded family leave insurance benefits went into effect. Family leave insurance provides individuals cash benefits to bond with a newborn, newly adopted child, newly placed foster child, or to provide care for a seriously ill or injured family member.
- Employees taking state-paid family leave beginning on or after July 1, 2020, are eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave if taken at once, or up to 56 days of intermittent leave.
- Additionally, the benefit rate has increased from 2/3 of the employee’s average weekly pay to 85%, up to a maximum of $881 per week.
- If the leave is needed to bond with a child and the need for leave is foreseeable, employees are required to provide their employers with 30 days’ notice if leave will be taken consecutively and 15 days’ notice if leave will be taken intermittently.
- If the need for leave is not foreseeable, or if it is needed to care for an ill or injured loved one, reasonable notice is required.
New York State’s New Paid Sick Leave Law
Earlier this year New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York State’s Paid Sick Leave Law. This law provides mandatory sick leave for employees across New York State. Employees in New York State will be eligible for guaranteed sick leave benefits. These benefits will be based on the number of employees and the net income in the prior tax year:
- Employers with four or fewer employees and with a net income equal to or less than $1 million in the prior tax year – employees will receive up to 40 hours unpaid sick leave in each calendar year.
- Employers with five to 99 employees, and employees of employers with four or fewer employees and more than $1 million net income – employees will receive 40 hours of paid sick leave.
- Public employers or employers with 100 or more employees – employees will receive 56 hours of paid sick leave.
Employees began accruing sick leave under the law beginning on September 30, 2020 or at the beginning of employment, whichever is later.
- This paid sick leave should accrue at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked.
- Employers can opt to advance the entire year’s allotment of sick leave at the beginning of the year, rather than tracking accrual.
- Unused sick leave should carry over from year to year. It is expected that the state will release additional guidance and regulations containing details on front-loading, carryover, and accrual.
- Employers are not prohibited from providing sick leave, paid or unpaid, in excess of the amounts required under this law.
Beginning on January 1, 2021, employees may begin using their accrued sick leave for the following purposes:
- For a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of such employee or such employee’s family member, regardless if a diagnosis has been made or medical care is required;
- For the diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of, or need for medical diagnosis of, or preventative care for, such employee or such employee’s family member; and
- For an absence from work due to domestic violence, a sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking, for such employee or a family member to seek services or assistance.
Notably, all employers remain subject to local sick leave ordinances that exceed the requirements of the Paid Sick Leave Law.
What does this expansion mean for employers in New York City?
Employers in New York City should be aware of expansions and amendments to the City’s safe and sick leave law in light of the new state sick leave requirements.
As of September 30, 2020:
- Employees must be permitted to use sick leave as it is accrued;
- Domestic employees are now eligible for 40 hours of paid leave;
- Employers must reimburse employees if the employee incurs costs for documentation required after three consecutive workdays; and
- Employers must provide employees with a paystub or other document each pay period, reflecting the amounts of accrued and used paid sick leave and the total balance of accrued leave.
As of January 1, 2021:
- Employers of four or fewer employees with net income over $1 million in the prior tax year must provide paid sick leave;
- Employers of 100 or more employees must provide up to 56 hours of paid leave to employees each year.
NYC is releasing updated materials related to these changes. Employers are required to distribute an updated Notice of Employee Rights. HDRB&B will provide additional guidance as it becomes available.