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In virus response, New Jersey again expands employment laws

In response to the coronavirus and its economic impact, the New Jersey legislature and Governor Phil Murphy have broadened employees’ access to certain benefits. Access to paid sick leave, family leave and temporary disability were expanded in the recently signed S-2304.

The measure amends parts of the state’s Earned Sick Leave Law and expands worker rights to use earned sick time in matters involving isolation or quarantine resulting from suspected exposure to COVID-19 (or similar communicable diseases).

The new law also expands employee rights to care for a family member subject to isolation or quarantine as a result of virus-related diagnosis or suspected exposure.

Before S-2304 New Jersey employers were required to allow workers to take time off for their own health condition or a family member’s health condition, as well as in cases of domestic or sexual violence. In addition, they could take time off to care for a schoolchild whose school was closed for a health emergency.

The new measure allows employees to take time off for:

  • A closure of their workplace or because a school or place of care for a child was closed because of a public health emergency
  • When a healthcare provider orders quarantine/isolation for the employee or a family member

The bill also amends the Family Leave Act by expanding the definition of “serious health condition” in a state of emergency and New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law by broadening the definition of “compensable disability.”

If you have questions about your obligations as a New Jersey employer under the new virus-related laws, contact an experienced employment law attorney who can protect your rights and business.

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