As the State legislature continues to debate the merits and the provisions of a comparable state law governing paid sick leave, Morristown has moved forward. Morristown now becomes the 13th municipality in New Jersey to adopt a paid sick leave ordinance that is applicable to all non-union, non-governmental employers operating within its city limits.
The Morristown ordinance is very similar to one that was earlier adopted by the City of Newark. It provides that all employers who have employees working in Morristown for at least 80 hours in a given benefit year, except any governmental employees or members of a construction union covered by a collective bargaining agreement, are obligated to comply with the ordinance that provides:
- Employees accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.
- Employees working for employers with 10 or more employees shall accrued up to 40 hours of paid sick time in a given benefit year (a regularly reoccurring 12 month period of time)
- Employees working for employers with less than 10 employees shall accrue up to 24 hours of paid sick time in a given benefit year except that child care workers, home health care workers and food service workers shall accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick time in a given year regardless of the size of the employer.
- Employer size is determined by the average number of employees (full-time, part-time and temporary) during the preceding calendar year
- Employees exempt from overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act are assumed to have worked 40 hours in each workweek unless their normal workweek is less than 40 hours.
- Employees may utilize paid time off to attend to their physical or mental health needs or the physical or mental health needs of a family member (spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, grandparent or sibling)
- Accrual of paid sick leave begins upon employment; it cannot be used until the employee has worked for 90 days
- Employees can carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick leave from one year to the next year, but Employer is not obligated to allow Employee to take more than 40 hours of paid sick leave in a given year.
- If Employer pays Employee for accrued sick time each year, the Employer shall not be required to allow Employee to carry over sick leave
- If an Employer has a policy providing for paid sick leave equal to or greater than provided by ordinance, the Employer is not required to provide for additional paid sick leave.
- An Employer is not obligated to payment employees upon termination, retirement or separation from employment for accrued sick leave
- If an Employee is re-employed within 6 months, any accrued sick time is reinstated
- Notification to each Employee is required in writing upon hire and by posting notice in English and in the language spoken by 10% of the workforce
- Employer is obligated to allow its records to be available for review by City Department of Administration; if Employer fails to maintain record, there is a rebuttal presumption that the Employer is violating the ordinance
- Employer cannot interfere with an Employee’s right to use paid sick leave and cannot retaliate against Employee for exercising that right.
- Employer can offer more generous paid sick leave benefits
- If time off is foreseeable, Employee is to give up to seven days advance notice. If time off is not foreseeable, Employee is to give notice before the beginning of the Employee’s work shift, or as soon as practicable in the case of an emergency when advance notice is not possible.
- Employer can require documentation from a health care professional to support a sick leave if an Employee is absent for three (3) consecutive days.
If you are an Employer located in Morristown you must comply with the new ordinance. If you fail to do so, you will be subject to fines, as well as payment of unused sick time to your employees who were otherwise entitled to receive paid sick time but for your refusal to abide by the ordinance. If you are an Employer with locations in Morristown, as well as other municipalities in New Jersey, you may be compelled to comply with multiple paid sick leave ordinances that vary in terms from city to city. As we have made it a point to stay current with the various municipal ordinances concerning paid sick leave, we are able to assist you in navigating through these potentially troubling ordinances.