In 2018, New Jersey enacted the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law, or ESLL.[1] The thrust of the ESLL is not complicated; employees working in New Jersey are entitled to up to 40 hours of earned sick leave for sicknesses and other legally recognized purposes (more on that later) either through advancement of those hours at the beginning of the benefit year or by accrual at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.

Although there were some unusual features to the ESLL, including, for example, the manner and methods of end-of-year payouts and carry- overs, and some ambiguities that could be clarified in regulations, it seemed that employers, most of whom already had decades of experience with sick leave policies, would adapt to the new state mandate.

Unfortunately, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, or NJDOL, created more questions than it answered when, on Jan. 6, 2020, it adopted and finalized its regulations related to the ESLL.[2] To put it mildly, these regulations, which purport only to interpret the ESLL, suffer from what I call the four Cs: coverage creep, complication, conflict and cost.

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