Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Expanding Eligible Uses of Sick Leave for School Employees

Governor Phil Murphy today signed a bill to expand eligible reasons for which a school district employee may use their sick leave.

Previously, school employees could only use their sick leave in connection with a personal disability due to an illness or injury, or if they or someone in their immediate household needed to quarantine due to a contagious illness. The new law expands the list of permissible uses for these employees.

“The past several years have highlighted just how crucial it is to prioritize the health and wellness of our residents, including the hardworking employees who educate New Jersey students and keep our schools running,” said Governor Murphy. “Recovering from a significant and sudden illness or injury is not the only reason an employee may need to take time off. Being able to get preventative health care, address mental health needs, care for a family member, take time to grieve the loss of a loved one, or be there for a child in times of need all play an important part in a person’s overall well-being. This bill recognizes that reality and allows school employees to take the time they need when they need it.”

“Expanding the scope of school district employee sick leave is a crucial step to continue fostering a compassionate and supportive educational environment,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education. “By broadening the permitted reasons for sick leave, we empower our educators to take care of themselves and their loved ones during critical times. This expansion not only promotes a healthier school community, but also demonstrates our commitment to supporting New Jersey’s educational workforce.”

Under the new law, school district employees may use sick leave for the following reasons:

  • To recover from a physical or mental illness, injury, or other health condition and/or take the time to have it diagnosed, treated, or cared for;
  • For preventative medical care;
  • To assist a member of their immediate family – including parents, spouses, siblings, and children – with the diagnosis, treatment, and/or care of a physical or mental illness, injury, or other health condition;
  • For circumstances related to domestic or sexual violence;
  • For the death of an immediate family member, for up to seven days;
  • To attend school-related conferences, meetings, functions, or other events for their child;
  • In connection with a closure of the school or facility caring for their child.

Employees may be required to obtain a doctor’s note if they take sick leave for their own illness/injury or to provide reasonable documentation if sick leave is claimed for three or more consecutive days for a purpose permitted under the law.Prime sponsors of the legislation include Senator Vin Gopal and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, as well as Senator Shirley Turner and Assembly Members Pamela Lampitt, Anthony Verrelli, and Linda Carter.

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  1. These laws are already in place for the private sector and have been since the sick time law went into effect a few years back. Why has the NJ BOE- a government entity who mandated that private employers have to provide sick time for all hourly employees, and allow them to take off for all the reasons stated above, been exempt from their own rules for so long??

  2. Thank you Governor Murphy! As a public school employee for over two decades it has been absolutely ridiculous to not be allowed to use a sick day and stay at home to care for an ill parent, spouse or (minor) child! We were docked even when bringing in a doctors note- because it wasn’t the actual employee that was sick. The previous rules did not take into account that we actually have lives and responsibilities outside of school…

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