Paid Sick Leave Compliance Requirements Change in 2016

Author: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor

December 21, 2015

The list of states and municipalities requiring paid sick leave is growing effective January 1, 2016. Employers in a number of states, including Oregon, Massachusetts and New Jersey, should be mindful of the new provisions being enforced. In addition to new recordkeeping obligations under these laws, an employer should also be aware of resulting notice-posting requirements.


For those in Oregon, paid sick leave compliance requirements will be changing state-wide employee coverage. Changes at the municipal level are being propelled by the state leave law provisions that preempt existing local leave laws (i.e., Eugene and Portland). For example, these developments will require a new posting under the Oregon paid sick leave law and obviate the need for the Portland, Oregon paid sick time poster.

New Jersey

New Brunswick has become the 11th municipality in New Jersey to adopt a paid sick leave ordinance. The ordinance applies to "paid sick and safe leave" and includes protections for employees requesting time off to seek assistance regarding domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking situations. The ordinance differs slightly from other ordinances in the state, in that it exempts small businesses (five employees or less). The ordinance does not cover telecommuters, per diem workers, temporary hospital workers, or part-time workers who work less than 20 hours per week.

New Brunswick's ordinance will be enforced by the City's Department of Planning, Community and Economic Development.

New Jersey employers should also note that Elizabeth, New Jersey's paid sick leave ordinance will take effect in November 2016.


Although the Earned Sick Time Law has been effective in Massachusetts since July 1, 2015, the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General announced that those employers with certain paid time off policies would be deemed compliant through the end of 2015. However, this "safe harbor" expires next week and the deadline for full compliance is January 1, 2016.

On the Horizon

Other paid sick leave laws that will take effect in 2016 include measures in Tacoma, Washington (February) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (March).

Employers should note that even though some states have passed preemption legislation regarding municipal ordinances that would set different paid sick leave or other employment requirements, in those states that allow for the expansion of such rights at the municipal level, and in the absence of a state-wide mandate, these ordinances can and will continue to take hold.