Summary of State Laws (Q1 & Q2 2020)
Several bills have been enacted that penalize employers for improperly misclassifying employees as independent contractors and inform employees of their rights. Among these laws are:
- Effective January 20, 2020, joint liability will be imposed for employee misclassification on labor contractors that provide workers to an employer.
- Effective January 20, 2020, New Jersey regulators may issue stop-work orders for violations of wage laws, including misclassification, and may require financial penalties for misclassification.
- Effective January 20, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is permitted to post a list of wage-law violators on its website.
- Effective April 1, 2020, employers are required to post notices in the workplace to inform workers of their rights under the state’s classification laws.
Family Leave, Sick Leave, and Temporary Disability Benefits
Effective March 25, 2020, New Jersey amended the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Act, New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA), and New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law, which includes New Jersey Family Leave Insurance, in regards to leave and benefits for employees impacted by a state of emergency or a quarantine or isolation order due to a communicable disease by:
- Expanding the list of qualifying reasons for use of paid sick leave.
- Expanding the qualifying reasons for leave under the NJFLA, including the need to care for a child due to the closure of the child’s school or place of care due to a public health emergency.
- Limiting the NJFLA’s key employee exemption.
- Expanding the eligible reasons an employee may collect temporary disability insurance (TDI) benefits.
- Eliminating the seven-day waiting period for collecting TDI for sickness related to an epidemic.
Effective June 17, 2020, eligible employees who return to work on a reduced basis while recovering from a disability will be paid a reduced amount of temporary disability benefits.
Effective July 1, 2020, the maximum duration for family leave insurance benefits is 12 weeks (previously six weeks) or 56 days (previously 42 days) taken on an intermittent basis. For temporary disability insurance and family leave insurance benefits, an employee’s weekly benefit rate is 85% (previously two-thirds) of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum of 70% (previously 53%) of the state average weekly wage.
Effective May 20, 2020, employers with 10 or more employees must include the following information on employees’ pay statements in addition to the already required deductions:
- Gross wages
- Net wages
- Rate of pay
- Number of hours worked during the pay period (if relevant to the wage calculation)
Employers are permitted to provide pay statements to employees electronically, unless an employee requests statements in paper form.
Organ and Bone Marrow Donation Leave
Effective May 20, 2020, New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Benefits Law is expanded to provide job-protected leave to individuals who are unable to work because they are donating an organ or bone marrow. For purposes of donating an organ or bone marrow, the one-week waiting period for the payment of temporary disability benefits is eliminated.
In addition, employers are eligible for a tax credit if they choose to provide a paid leave of absence to employees for bone marrow or organ donation and if such time is in addition to any other paid time off granted to the employee. The credit is equal to 25% of the employee’s salary during the time missed from work, for up to 30 days of missed work for each donation.