Business Law Articles
By Casey L. Gocel, Esq.
Mandelbaum Salsburg P.C.
Roseland, New Jersey
On May 2, 2018 Gov. Phil Murphy signed another "pro-employee" law, the New Jersey Earned Sick and Safe Days Act (the "ESSDA"). The law comes on the heels of the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (the "AEPA") signed on April 24, 2018.
THE EARNED SICK AND SAFE DAYS ACT
The ESSDA will take effect on October 30, 2018. It will enable full and part-time workers to take paid time off up to forty (40) hours (five days) per year. Beginning October 30th, employees will earn one hour of paid sick time for every thirty (30) hours worked. The law also provides for family caregivers to take time off to manage those responsibilities and victims of domestic violence time off to safely leave an abusive relationship.
The Take-Away: Employers should promptly review their sick and paid time off policies to make sure they comply with the ESSDA and sick leave policies adopted by various municipalities that are more favorable than the ESSDA.
THE ALLEN EQUAL PAY ACT
The AEPA makes significant changes to equal pay laws in New Jersey. The AEPA will take effect on July 1, 2018.
The AEPA protects women and minorities from disparate pay when performing "substantially similar work" compared to their peers outside that protected category. While the AEPA is an amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which has a two year statute of limitations, the AEPA will have a six year limitations period. Moreover, claims under the AEPA can go back even further because the AEPA does not prohibit the "continuing violation" doctrine or the "discovery rule."
The AEPA also precludes employers from retaliating against any employee for disclosing their compensation or benefits to others. Finally, the AEPA provides for treble (triple) damages and attorneys' fees.
The Take-Away: Employers should promptly review their pay practices and do so whenever a new business is acquired. It is against the law to reduce the rate of compensation of any employee in order to comply with the AEPA.
As always, if I can put you in touch with one of our Employment Law attorneys to answer any questions for you, please do not hesitate to contact me.