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New Jersey Legislative Update: Paid Sick Leave Bill Stalls Again, But Minimum Wage Hike Advances

By James M. McDonnell and Beth L. Braddock
  • June 6, 2016

New Jersey legislators have delayed a vote on the Paid Sick Leave Act to allow the Assembly and Senate a chance to settle their disputes over the bill’s impact on small employers and its preemptive effect on municipal ordinances mandating paid sick leave. These are the same issues that led to failure of the March 2016 vote in the legislature.

Under the bill, private and public employers must provide their employees with one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.

In March, the Senate approved amending the bill to permit employee paid-time off (PTO) policies (which provide vacation, sick, and personal days off) to satisfy the requirements under the proposed law. The legislators, however, have not reached consensus on the preemptive effect of the Paid Sick Leave Act on municipal ordinances requiring paid sick leave. Currently, at least a dozen municipalities in the Garden State have local ordinances mandating employers with a minimum number of employees to provide paid sick leave. (For an example, see our article, Jersey City, New Jersey, Extends Paid Sick Leave Requirements to More Employers.)

Minimum Wage Bill

The New Jersey State Assembly has passed a bill that will raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, following phased-in increases, and tie future increases to the consumer price index. The bill will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour effective January 1, 2017, then will require annual increases of $1.25 per year (or $1.00 per year plus any increase in the consumer price index) until 2021. The New Jersey State Senate is considering a similar bill from the Labor Committee.

The Assembly bill now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to pass. Lawmakers, in response to looming veto threats from the governor, reportedly will propose a referendum to put the minimum wage increase to the voters for a state constitutional amendment should the governor exercise his veto.

New Jersey employers should consider contingency plans now. A review of staffing, budgets, and leave policies may be appropriate given the potentially significant change.

Please contact Jackson Lewis for assistance or questions on workplace developments.

©2016 Jackson Lewis P.C. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

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