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New Jersey Expands Workplace Protections for Employees

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

(North American Meat Institute)

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed two bills into law that would expand workplace protections for employees. The New Jersey Equal Pay Act (Act) prohibits discrimination in pay or benefits "because of the race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy or breastfeeding, sex, gender identity or expression, disability or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait of any individual, or because of the liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States or the nationality of any individual, or because of the refusal to submit to a genetic test or make available the results of a genetic test to an employer."

The Act also makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to pay any of its employees who is a member of a protected class at a rate of compensation, including benefits, which is less than the rate paid by the employer to employees who are not members of the protected class for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility. The Act stipulates circumstances when employers may pay employees different rates of compensation. The Act becomes effective July 1, 2018.

A second law, the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act, requires all employers, regardless of size, to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with an annual cap of 40 hours. The law prohibits localities from enacting ordinances regarding earned sick leave. The Paid Sick Leave Act becomes effective October 29, 2018.

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