And then there were seven. Seven patches in the developing “paid sick leave” patchwork that we presaged months ago. It started with San Francisco in 2007. Then the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Seattle, Portland, OR, and  NYC . Now, add the Jersey City, N.J. patch.

The Jersey City variation requires employers with at least 10 employees to accrue an hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, and smaller employers to accrue an hour of unpaid sick time for every 30 hours of work. The ordinance states specifically that an employer’s “absence control policy” may not count paid sick time taken under it as an absence, which means an employer must close its eyes to these absences as it must to those taken pursuant to the FMLA. 

Employees must give notice of the need to use sick time “as soon as practicable.” Accrued sick time may be used in the smallest increment that the employer’s payroll system uses to account for absences or use of other time, or one hour, whichever is less.

The ordinance has the usual prohibitions. An employer may not restrain or interfere with an employee’s exercise of rights under the ordinance or retaliate against someone who does. 

To be clear, the patchwork challenge has nothing to do with the social question of whether there should or should not be paid sick days. The challenge is the proliferation of leave and attendance laws and how they interact with each other. Does the time off under paid sick day laws run concurrent with time off under these other leave-and-attendance laws or is it “stacked” on top of those laws? 

Rest assured, we will soon be discussing the eighth patch in the patchwork!