Several measures have been passed or introduced on both the state and federal level to provide paid sick days and paid family and medical leave for workers.
New Jersey Legislation & Laws
New Jersey is leading the way in local and state policy changes to provide working families with increased economic and job security through earned sick days, family leave and increased minimum wage and other laws.
New Jersey Municipal Earned Sick Days Laws
All private sector workers in Jersey City can earn one hour of job protected sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours (5 days) of sick time per year. Workers in establishments with 10 or more employees (this includes franchises), will receive job protected as well as paid sick time.
All private sector workers in Newark can earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours (5 days) of sick time per year in establishments with 10 or more employees. Establishments with less than 10 employees can earn up to 24 hours of paid sick time per year.
New Jersey State Legislation & Law
On November 5, 2013 New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25! This amendment also includes an automatic cost-of-living increase each year. The change took effect January 1, 2014.
This bill will allow parents/guardians to attend or participate in school functions or activities of a child of the employee, or accompany the child to medical-related appointments. This bill will also allow parents to take leave in increments as short as two hours.
This bill will provide earned sick leave to workers in New Jersey. For every 30 hours worked, the employee shall accrue one hour of earned sick leave. The employer shall not be required to permit the employee to accrue at any one time, or carry forward from one year to the next, more than 40 hours of earned sick leave if the employer is a small employer (less than 10 employees), or more than 72 hours of earned sick leave if the employer is not a small employer (10 or more employees). The employee may use earned sick leave as it is accrued.
This bill increases the minimum hourly wage that must be paid to employees who customarily and regularly receive gratuities or tips. The bill provides that, after December 31, 2014, an employer may claim a credit for gratuities or tips received by an employee against the hourly wage rate paid to the employee in an amount not to exceed 60 percent of the minimum hourly wage rate required by law, and after December 31, 2015, an employer may claim a credit for gratuities and tips in an amount not to exceed 31 percent of the minimum hourly wage rate required by law.
Other State & Municipal Laws
New York City Council passed the Earned Sick Time Act in June 2013. The bill has since been strengthened with the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as with the support from the majority of the City Council on February 26, 2014. The new and improved Earned Sick Time Act is effective beginning on April 1, 2014. Click here for the New York Earned Sick Time Fact Sheet
Governor Jerry Brown of California signed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 into law. The law is effective beginning in 2015 and will impact approximately 6.5 million workers in California.
An employee of a company with 50 or more employees can earn one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked. Paid sick time can be used to care for self, a family member (child or spouse) and to recover from family violence or sexual assault.
The FAMILY Act, introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in the Senate and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in the House of Representatives, would create a paid family leave fund like California’s at the federal level. The bill would provide workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave for their own serious illness; to care for a child, parent or spouse with a serious illness; or to bond with a new child. Workers and employers would each contribute a very small portion of their wages into this insurance program; the self-sustaining fund would mean workers could receive up to 66 percent of their wages while on leave.
The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 by 2015, in three steps of 95 cents each, Adjust the minimum wage each year to keep pace with the rising cost of living starting in 2016 – a key policy reform known as “indexing,” which ten states are already using to prevent the minimum wage from falling in value each year. It would raise the minimum wage for tipped workers – which has been frozen at a meager $2.13 per hour for more than twenty years – to 70% of the minimum wage. Additionally it would adjust the minimum wage each year to keep pace with the rising cost of living starting in 2016.
The Healthy Families Act would guarantee workers up to seven paid sick days a year to recover from their own illness or to care for a sick family member, and provides paid sick time for diagnostic and medical appointments
The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2009 will provide that 4 of the 12 weeks of parental leave made available to a Federal employee shall be paid leave, and for other purposes.