As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, many business owners have questions about New Jersey law. Many are asking whether they are required to pay employees under certain circumstances in a pandemic. Our Labor and Employment attorneys share the following information.
Under New Jersey law, do we have to pay our employees if our business slows down or is forced to close as a result of COVID-19?
It depends on the circumstances. The following employees must be allowed to use earned sick leave in relation to COVID-19:
- Persons diagnosed with COVID-19
- Persons with the symptoms of COVID-19
- Persons unable to work because their child’s school or daycare was ordered closed by a public official for public health reasons
- Persons unable to work because their place of business was ordered closed by a public official for public health reasons
- Persons refusing to go to work because the place of work remains open in defiance of an order to close by a public health official for public health reasons,
- Persons who do not go to work because their healthcare provider says they are at a greater risk due a pre-existing health condition
- Persons told to self-quarantine due to virus exposure outside of the workplace
- Persons caring for relatives or loved ones diagnosed with COVID-19 or the symptoms of COVID-19
Individuals exposed to COVID-19 during the course of their work who have subsequently been ordered to self-quarantine may be able to use earned sick leave and may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
In certain circumstances and if specific eligibility criteria is met, individuals who have exhausted their earned sick leave may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, temporary disability benefits, and/or family leave insurance benefits, all of which are designed to provide partial salary reimbursement.
Please note that several bills are pending before the U.S. Congress and the New Jersey Legislature, which may provide benefits and protections to employees and financial assistance to employers. In this rapidly changing landscape, this will likely result in substantial changes to employee benefits and employer responsibilities.
The information provided in this alert was up-to-date at the time of publication, is provided for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, and the transmission and receipt of this information does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship.