New Jersey Senator Peter J. Barnes has introduced a bill that would protect workers in the state from adverse actions by their employer if they are unable to make it to work during a declared state of emergency. The legislation would prevent employers from requiring employees to use any leave, paid or unpaid, as well as any sick, vacation or personal days during a state of emergency. According to the bill, a state of emergency is a natural or man-made disaster or emergency in which a state of emergency is declared by the Governor or by a municipal emergency management coordinator.
The proposed bill contains an exemption for public safety agencies and carries fines to an employer who violates the provisions of up to $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for each offense thereafter.
The bill has been referenced to the Senate Labor Committee. Employers, please check back with Stark & Stark’s Employment Law Group for updates on this proposed bill.