Now that the busy and stressful holiday season is over, I’m sure everyone is trying to get back in the swing of things and back to their norm, and some may be focusing on their New Year’s resolution goals.
Back in the day, insurance brokers would walk into a business annually just to discuss health insurance premiums and rates, using a spreadsheet, making little to no changes. Now brokers are more involved with employee benefits than ever before. They will keep you updated with any changes involving employee benefits. For example, our office during the renewal process will include conversations with payroll companies, accountants and HR representatives, etc. A new hot topic that all business owners are talking about is Governor Murphy’s new mandatory paid sick leave.
New Jersey has now become the 10th state in the nation to enact statewide mandatory paid sick leave. Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act, which took effect October 29, 2018. This prohibits employers from discriminating against employees for requesting or using sick leave. Employers are required to pay employees for earned sick leave at their regular rate of pay.
Which Employees Are Eligible?
This act applies to almost every person employed in New Jersey—except for employees in the construction industry employed under a collective bargaining agreement, per diem healthcare employees, and public employees who already have sick-leave benefits.
How Is Sick Leave Accrued?
In each benefit year, an employee will accrue up to forty (40) hours of sick time at a rate of one (1) hour of paid sick leave per thirty (30) hours worked. For example, if an employee works 30 hours, they now have accrued 1 hour of paid sick leave.
How Can Sick Leave Be Used?
Employees may use earned sick days for:
The medical needs of an employee or employee’s family member(s) such as: diagnosis, care, treatment of or recovery from the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or other adverse health condition, or for an employee’s preventive medical care.
Closure of the workplace, school, or childcare due to a public health emergency.
A child’s school-related conference, meeting, function or other event.
Employers may not require an employee to find coverage for their absence.
The act defines “family member” to include individual related by blood to the employee or whose close association with employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
What Notice and/or Documentations Are Required?
Foreseeable absence: Employers may require advance notice up to seven (7) days if an employee’s intention is to use earned sick leave.
Unforeseeable absence: Employers may require notice of intention to use leave as soon as practicable.
Absence of three or more days allows employers to request documentation.
This Is Time Consuming! How to Pass the Responsibility to Someone Else?
Having a PEO can protect you with every question and concern you may have with your business. PEOs take responsibility for all employee benefits and government changes. Like having a HR in house, they are responsible for making employee handbooks, time and attendance, and they will keep track of employee paid sick leave hours—which will leave you available to take care of other business needs. PEOs are trusted business partners for small- and medium-sized business employers. PEOs deliver cost-effective, outsourced services for health benefit administration. PEO providers know you need Fortune 500-level benefits to win top talent in a competitive marketplace, and you want cost-effective, flexible benefits that fit into your business plans. Having a PEO can come with lots of benefits. If PEO isn’t the option for you, we have various other options to save you money that can be a great fit for your business.
This is where Cosmo Insurance Agency comes into the picture. We can help you find a PEO or be the insurance broker you need for your business. Give us a call!
By Mark Herschlag
Mark Herschlag is the founder and CEO of Cosmo Insurance Agency, which is based in Ocean County. Cosmo Insurance Agency offers personalized solutions for individuals and businesses looking to obtain health, life, dental, long-term care or disability insurance.
For more information or for a free, no-obligation quote, please call (201) 817-1388 or email [email protected].