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Your Rights Under the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law

November 26, 2022 Family and Medical Leave Act Claims

If You Work in New Jersey, You’re Entitled To Paid Sick Leave

The New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law was put into place in October 2018. Since then, all employers—no matter how large—have been required to provide paid sick leave to their employees in New Jersey. This is true even of businesses headquartered outside the state. 

Your Rights Under the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law

Under the law, employees earn one hour of paid sick leave per every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours of sick leave per year. Employers are allowed to provide more sick leave than this, but they can’t provide less.

If you haven’t used up all your sick leave by the end of the year, you have two choices. You can either carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick leave to the next year, or you can request a payout.

Under New Jersey law, all qualifying employees have a right to accrue paid sick leave—no matter if you get paid from salary, hourly wages, tips or commissions. Your employer is prohibited from retaliation against you for taking paid sick leave that you’re entitled to.

Exceptions to the Earned Sick Leave Law 

The Earned Sick Leave Law is very broad, and covers most employees who work in the state.  However, there are a few exceptions who don’t qualify for protections under the law. These include:

  • Hospital employees who are paid per diem
  • Construction workers who were hired as part of a collective bargaining agreement
  • Public employees who have sick leave under state law

For What Reasons Can You Take Paid Sick Leave in New Jersey?

You can take your earned sick leave for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To take care of your own health. This includes getting a mental or physical illness diagnosed or treated, or getting preventative treatment.
  • To take care of a family member. “Family member” is very broadly defined under New Jersey law, and includes children, spouses, civil union and domestic partners, grandparents and grandchildren, siblings, or any other blood relation—as well as anyone not blood-related with whom you have a close relationship equivalent to family.
  • To deal with any health issues relating to yourself or a family member being a victim of domestic abuse or sexual violence. This includes treatment for physical or mental injury, receiving help from a domestic violence agency or services organization, participation in legal actions, or relocation.
  • To deal with the closing of your workplace, or your child’s school or childcare facility, because of a public health emergency.
  • To attend your child’s school conferences, meetings, and other events required by school administrators.

If your use of paid sick leave is foreseeable, your employer may request that you provide notice up to seven days in advance. If you can’t predict when you will use sick leave, your employer may request that you give as much notice as you can, and you may be required to submit documentation for taking sick leave in some circumstances.

It should be noted that maternity leave is not covered under the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law. That’s because it’s already covered under several other laws, including the New Jersey Paid Family Leave Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act at the federal level.

What To Do if Your Employer Has Turned Down Your Request for Paid Sick Leave

If you qualify for paid sick leave under the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law, and you’ve been denied paid sick leave, your employer may be in violation of the law.

Your first move should be to get in touch with a knowledgeable New Jersey employment lawyer. Your lawyer can assess the situation, determine which laws have been broken, and help you gain restitution from your employer.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.