New Jersey lawmakers recently passed legislation that expands the paid sick leave rights of employees, requiring employers to offer sick leave to those who qualify. This leave covers many different circumstances. It may offer the flexibility that most people need at some point in their life when times are hard, either for themselves or for loved ones.
The new sick leave act takes effect at the end of October, expanding paid sick leave to a number of instances where employers are not always eager to grant it. The new rules require employers to approve eligible employees’ sick leave in instances including:
- An employee’s personal medical care
- Medical care of a family member covered under the same policy
- Closure of the workplace or closure of an employee’s child’s school or care facility due to a health emergency
- Recovery from sexual violence or domestic violence, for an employee or some of an employee’s close relatives
- Time requested to attend an employee’s child’s school function if the school requests or requires attendance
These grounds for being granted sick leave represent a significant expansion of the accepted reasons for requesting sick leave. Inevitably, some employers may will push back on these new guidelines, or they may look for ways to deny requested paid sick leave when the time comes.
Do not accept this kind of treatment sitting down if your own employer balks at providing you with the paid sick leave you deserve, make sure to use the legal resources that you have available to keep your rights and priorities secure as you work to balance your work life with the very real needs you have at home, and the needs of those who depend on you.