A recent ruling passed by the Jersey City council will require more businesses to recognize paid sick leave law for their employees. Businesses which employ ten workers or less are now required to give their employees as much as 24 hours of sick time with pay, and as much as sixteen hours of sick leave each year. Before this ruling, businesses in the area were only required to give their employees unpaid sick leave. The fines for violating this paid sick leave law will range from $1,250 to as much as $2,000 for every infraction.
Additional Measures Associated with this Ruling
Companies that operate in industries such as healthcare, food service or child care must provide as much as forty hours of paid sick time each year, irrespective of how many employees they have. Employers which have ten employees or less are also barred from encouraging their employees to use up the unpaid sick time they’ve earned prior to using their paid sick time.
Union members who have Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) coverage which has been negotiated on their behalf are exempt from the designation of employees. Furthermore, those with CBA coverage are also exempt from the new paid sick leave ruling, so long as the requirements of the ordinance are specifically waived via the CBA in language which is clear and non-ambiguous.
Why This Ruling Went into Effect
The paid sick time ruling was first introduced in San Francisco in 2006. The reason for this is because San Francisco has a large number of people employed in the hospitability business. Workers in this business who become sick should not go to work, due to the nature of the industry, and they weren’t getting paid for this missed time. The city leadership got together and decided to change the rules. They realized that a huge percentage of their workforce was not being provided with paid sick time. As a consequence, employees would show up to work ill, and then would make both their co-workers and customer’s sick as well.
The ruling was structured in such a way where an employee would receive one hour of paid sick time for every thirty hours they worked. This ruling included all businesses which had a minimum of ten employees. To qualify, an employee had to work a minimum of 72 hours within a single year, and the record begins ninety days after they’re first hired. Like San Francisco, Jersey City also has a large number of workers employed in the hospitality business.
What Employers Should Do
The sick leave law found in San Francisco and Jersey City may eventually be adopted by other cities across the nation. Employers can prepare for this potential change by doing their research and understanding their responsibilities. They should also consider the implementation of time and attendance systems which are automated, as the costs for these systems are much lower than the penalties that may be incurred. Employers should assess their ability to track the policies that may govern them.