New Jersey Enacts Sick and Safe Leave Law and Expands Equal Pay Protections


New Jersey enacted two employment-related laws – one that requires employers to provide paid sick and safe leave and another that expands the protections of the already-existing equal pay law.

A 1827 requires all employers to provide earned sick leave to all employees (with a few exceptions for construction employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, per diem health care employees, and certain public employees), accrued at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked up to 40 hours a year. This paid leave may be used for: personal or family illness, injury or preventive care; absences due to domestic violence towards the employee or family member; the closure of the workplace or child’s school because of a public health emergency or quarantine of the employee or family member; attending school-related meetings, functions and events. The law also contains requirements as to employee notice and verification of the need for leave. It prohibits retaliation for requesting or using leave, and contains requirements for employers regarding notice to employees and recordkeeping.

SB 104 amends the equal pay law to prohibit pay differentials for substantially similar work based on any characteristic protected by the state anti-discrimination law, and not just sex. Differentials may be based on certain legitimate job-related factors. The law also protects employees’ ability to disclose and discuss their compensation. It further expands the limitations period for the filing of claims to up to six years, and increases the possible damages.