NJ Earned Sick Leave Covers Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 25, 2018) – New Jersey’s earned sick leave law will cover more than illness and injury when it takes effect on Monday. The Rutgers Center for Women and Work at the School of Management and Labor Relations today highlighted a provision that allows employees to use paid time off for treatment and services related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

“This is a critically important part of the law that should not be overlooked,” said Debra Lancaster, Executive Director of the Rutgers Center for Women and Work. “One in four women and one in seven men have experienced domestic violence at some point in their lifetime. Enabling victims and their family members to take paid time off for treatment and services is vital. Employers can be an important partner in the healing process by showing support for their affected employees.”  

Under the new law, employees will earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours of sick leave per year. Time will begin accruing on October 29 and may be used starting on February 26, 2019 or 120 days after starting a new job, whichever comes later. Employees may use earned sick leave for mental or physical illness; injury; preventive care; a family member’s illness, injury, or preventive care; their children’s school appointments; and public health emergencies at work or school.

In addition, the Rutgers Center for Women and Work noted the law allows the use of earned sick leave if the employee—or a family member—experiences domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and needs:

  •          Medical attention
  •          Victim services
  •          Counseling
  •          Relocation
  •          A restraining order or other legal services

The law defines a family member as the employee’s child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent, or grandparent, as well as certain in-laws and anyone else related by blood or having the equivalent of a family relationship to the employee.

Domestic Violence in New Jersey

Police reported 63,420 domestic violence offenses across New Jersey in 2016, an increase of three percent over the previous year, according to a report by the Office of the Attorney General and the New Jersey State Police. Women were victims in 74 percent of those offenses. The number of murders involving domestic violence increased from 49 in 2015 to 52 in 2016.

Domestic Violence at Work

Domestic violence is a significant issue for women at work, resulting in diminished productivity and lost wages. It can have even more tragic repercussions in the workplace in cases when the abuser confronts the victim at work. A 2012 study by researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and West Virginia University finds domestic violence is the second-leading cause of workplace homicides among women in the U.S. Of the 648 women murdered on the job between 2003 and 2008, 26 percent died at the hands of an intimate partner. That is greater than the number of women killed by a co-worker (14 percent) or customer/client (14 percent).

Press Contact

Steve Flamisch
Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations
848.252.9011 (cell)

About Us

The Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations is the world’s leading source of expertise on managing and representing workers, designing effective organizations, and building strong employment relationships. The Center for Women and Work is celebrating 25 years of advancing women in the workplace.