As we have previously addressed here and here, the City of Jersey City recently became the latest jurisdiction to mandate paid sick leave for all employees of companies with at least 10 workers. Employers with under 10 workers need to provide unpaid sick leave. Paid Sick Leave went into effect as of January 24, 2014. The City has also issued posters about the ordinance in English, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, and Tagalog. There are separate posters for employers and for workers, listing the answers to some “frequently asked questions” about the new program. Copies of the posters are available here.
The posters make the following representations about the new ordinance:
- The ordinance covers all employees who work at least 80 hours in Jersey City in any calendar year;
- The ordinance applies only to employees, not “freelancers” or “independent contractors”;
- The ordinance is not intended to usurp the terms of any collectively bargained agreements, thus limiting its applicability to union employees;
- Employees alleging violations of the ordinance can file complaints in Jersey City Municipal Court; and
- Employers cannot inquire about the nature of a family member’s medical condition if an employee requests sick leave to care for the ailing family member.
Per the terms of the posters, employers must post copies of each in a “conspicuous and accessible” place in the workplace and distribute copies of the poster to employees. Employers must also post translations of the notices in “any language that is the first language of at least 10 percent of the workforce.” Employers who fail to post the notices can be fined “up to $100 for each employee who was not given notice and $500 for each establishment where a poster was not displayed.”
Based upon the way the FAQ’s define employees, it appears that the City will apply the ordinance to any employee who works at least 80 hours within the City in a calendar year, regardless of whether or not the employer maintains a physical presence in the City. While this position would appear difficult to enforce and a significant administrative burden on businesses, employers who regularly do business in Jersey City should review the ordinance’s requirements carefully. We will provide any updates here as they come out.