The Jersey City Council voted to expand the scope of the City’s existing sick leave ordinance yesterday.  Under the Ordinance as amended, employers with less than 10 employees now will be required to provide employees with up to 24 hours of paid sick leave and up to 16 hours of unpaid sick leave per year.  Small employers were previously required to provide employees with up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per year.

The new measure provides for several other changes, including the following:

  • Employers with less than 10 employees are prohibited from requiring employees to exhaust earned unpaid sick time before using earned paid sick;
  • Employers of child care workers, health care workers, and food service workers must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year, regardless of the size of the employer;
  • Individuals who are a member of a constructive union and who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) negotiated by that union are excluded from the definition of “employee” under the Ordinance;
  • The Ordinance does not apply to employees covered by a CBA to the extent that the Ordinance’s requirements are expressly waived in CBA in clear and unambiguous language;
  • The maximum penalty for violating the Ordinance is raised from $1,250.00 to $2,000.00.

While the amendment will not affect the sick leave obligations for many employers with 10 or more employees, small employers and employers of child care workers, health care workers, and food service workers should familiarize themselves with the Ordinance and take steps to comply with its requirements, including updating or issuing new sick leave policies.