New Jersey has broadened the application of several existing laws and enacted new legislation as part of the state's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Summarized below are two New Jersey laws that provide additional protections and paid leave benefits to New Jersey employees who have been impacted by COVID-19.
Expansion of Paid Leave Benefits for COVID-19-Related Purposes. Effective March 25, New Jersey's leave laws have been amended to expand coverage to workers impacted by epidemics of communicable diseases, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Notable aspects of the amendments include:
Prohibition from Penalizing Employees for Leave Due to Infectious Disease. This new law prohibits employers, during the Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declared by the governor in Executive Order 103 of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from terminating or otherwise penalizing an employee who requests or takes time off from work based on the written or electronically transmitted recommendation of a New Jersey-licensed medical professional because the employee has, or is likely to have, an infectious disease that may infect others at the employee's workplace. When the employee returns to work from this leave, employers are required to reinstate the employee to the position that he or she held when the leave started, without impacting seniority, status, employment benefits, pay, or other terms and conditions of employment. In addition to the ability to file complaints with the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development due to an employer violation, the law provides aggrieved employees with a private right of action, allowing them to seek reinstatement. Employers may also be subject to a $2,500 fine for violating the law.
New Jersey's response to the COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving.
For more Day Pitney alerts and articles related to the impact of COVID-19, as well as information from other reliable sources, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.
COVID-19 DISCLAIMER: As you are aware, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, things are changing quickly and the effect, enforceability and interpretation of laws may be affected by future events. The material set forth in this document is not an unequivocal statement of law, but instead represents our best interpretation of where things stand as of the date of first publication. We have not attempted to address the potential impacts of all local, state and federal orders that may have been issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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