On June 22, 2015, the New Jersey Senate Labor Committee approved S785, a bill that would provide mandatory paid sick leave to all New Jersey employees. The bill is similar to A2354, passed by the Assembly Budget Committee, in that it would require employers to provide either 40 or 72 hours of paid sick leave to employees, depending on the size of the employer. The proposed laws would allow employees to accrue such leave at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, and permit employees to use the leave for their own medical illness, preventive doctor appointments, or illness or appointments for family members (among other reasons). The bills would also implement additional notice and posting requirements for all New Jersey employers.
Despite the vast similarities, however, the bills are currently stalled by one key difference. The Senate bill “grandfathers” in existing municipal sick leave laws (i.e., Passaic, East Orange, Paterson, Irvington, Montclair, Newark, Trenton, Bloomfield, and Jersey City) but expressly precludes other municipalities from enacting their own stricter paid sick leave laws, while the Assembly bill expressly allows for stricter local sick leave ordinances. In order for the bill to proceed to the governor’s desk, either the Senate or the Assembly will have to adopt the competing version of the bill, at which point Governor Chris Christie, who has vocally opposed paid sick leave laws generally, is widely expected to veto the bill and is unlikely to sign it into law.