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Monday, May 10, 2021

NJ Employment Attorney, NJ Earned Sick Leave Law as to Covid-19 and Retaliation

If your employer under the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law refuses to give you permission to take time to care for yourself or a family member who has become unwell due to the Covid-19 virus or who won’t pay you for that time as mandated by the law, you should contact this office. Some employers are attempting to skirt his law, violating this law, as the pandemic is now in the midst of its second year impacting employees and their families. If your employer retaliates against you for your asking for such time off, you may also have a retaliation claim against your employer.

Under this statute, an employee is permitted to use accrued earned sick leave as it relates to the  Covid-19 pandemic for any of the following reasons:

(1) time needed for diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or for preventive medical care for the employee;

(2) time needed for the employee to aid or care for a family member of the employee during diagnosis, care, or treatment of, or recovery from, the family member’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or during preventive medical care for the family member;

(3) time during which the employee is not able to work because of a closure of the employee’s workplace, or the school or place of care of a child of the employee, by order of a public official due to an epidemic or other public health emergency, or because of the issuance by a public health authority of a determination that the presence in the community of the employee, or a member of the employee’s family in need of care by the employee, would jeopardize the health of others.

The definition of “family member” in this statute is broad. “Family member" means a child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent, or grandparent of an employee, or a spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner of a parent or grandparent of the employee, or a sibling of a spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner of the employee, or any other individual related by blood to the employee or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

The definition of a “parent” is also broad. “Parent” means a biological, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of an employee or of the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner, or a person who stood in loco parentis of the employee or the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner when the employee, spouse or partner was a minor child.

A "Benefit year" means the period of 12 consecutive months established by an employer in which an employee shall accrue and use earned sick leave.

Under this law, Earned Sick Leave accrual is essentially as follows:

(a) For every 30 hours worked, the employee shall accrue one hour of earned sick leave.

(b) The employer shall not be required to permit the employee to accrue more than 40 hours of earned sick leave in any benefit year.

Retaliatory Personnel Actions and Discrimination Are Prohibited

If your employer retaliates against you for taking time off under the Earned Sick Leave Law, or even for your mere asking for such time off, you may have a valid claim for illegal retaliation under several statutes. Depending on the facts there could be illegal retaliation under not only this statute but also claims under the NJ Law Against Discrimination, the Federal Family Medical Leave Act, and the NJ Family Leave Act.

Each NJ employer shall provide earned sick leave to each employee working for the employer in the State under 34:11D-2. Note: There are a couple of exceptions as to “covered employers” under this statute including it does not apply to a public employer that is required to provide its employees with sick leave with full pay pursuant to any other law, rule or regulation of this State.

DO NOT SIT ON YOUR RIGHTS!

If you were denied time off due to Covid-19 take care of yourself or a family, or if you were retaliated against asking for time off to take care of yourself or a sick family member for any medical reason or disability, or after you complained about what you believed was your employer’s unlawful conduct, you should this law office now for a free consultation.

I am an experienced and aggressive employment discrimination and whistleblower attorney. I have successfully represented employees of public entities and private employers, who were demoted,  harassed, retaliated against, or terminated because they asked for time off to take caer of themselves or a family member and was successful in obtaining monetary compensation for them, including top-tier professionals. Do not sit on your rights, or you may lose the right to file your claim.

If you are being subjected to such unlawful workplace acts, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation. I accept employment cases from all over New Jersey.

New Jersey employment attorney, Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout the state, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in Southern, Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.

 



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