Bill Text: NJ A2419 | 2022-2023 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Prohibits certain employment actions against employees affected by a declared state of emergency.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2022-02-07 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Labor Committee [A2419 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2022-A2419-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 2419

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

220th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 7, 2022

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  BENJIE E. WIMBERLY

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Prohibits certain employment actions against employees affected by a declared state of emergency.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act prohibiting certain employment practices.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    As used in this act:

     "Employee" means any employee of an employer, except that no physician or other medical personnel, or other personnel required to maintain essential healthcare services shall be regarded as an "employee" for the purposes of this act, whether or not the medical or healthcare services personnel works for a public safety agency.

     "Employer" means any employer or employer's agent, representative, or designee, except that the term "employer" does not include: any public safety agency or contractor of the public safety agency that contracts to provide emergency repair, street clearing or other emergency services; any licensed health care facility; any public utility as defined in R.S.48:2-13 or contractor of the public utility; or a contractor that contracts with an owner of a private facility to provide street clearing services for that facility.

     "Public safety agency" means a division of a municipality, a county, or the State which dispatches or provides, or contracts to obtain, law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency medical services, or other emergency services.

     "State of emergency" means a natural or man-made disaster or emergency for which a state of emergency has been declared by the Governor.

 

     2.    No employer shall discharge from employment or take any adverse action against any employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or other privileges of employment because the employee is not actively working and performing all regular duties at the employer's place of business due to a state of emergency during the time in which the state of emergency is in effect and applies to the areas where the employee lives or works and emergency management officials have advised individuals in those areas to evacuate or to not travel.  No employer shall require any employee to use any sick, personal, or other leave provided by the employer, whether paid or unpaid, for any time that the employee is unable to work due to the state of emergency.  This act shall not be construed as requiring any employer to provide wages or compensation to any employee that is not actively working.

 

     3.    An employee who is unable to work and perform the regular duties of employment at the employer's place of business for any period of time due to a state of emergency shall:

     a.     make every possible effort to notify the employer of the absence from work due to the declared state of emergency; and

     b.    return to work as soon as possible, but not later than the first shift or regularly scheduled work hours occurring after the declaration of the state of emergency is rescinded or after emergency management officials have deemed the situation to be safe, and accounting for the time needed to travel to the employer's place of business.

 

     4.    An employer who violates any provision of this act shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation, collectible by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development in a summary proceeding pursuant to the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).

 

     5.    This act shall apply only to a state of emergency declared after the effective date of this act.

 

     6.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill prohibits an employer from taking any adverse employment actions against an employee who is unable to actively work or perform regular duties at the employer's place of business due to a declared state of emergency.  The bill also prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to use any sick, personal, or other leave, paid or unpaid, for an absence from work due to a state of emergency.

     The bill prohibits an employer from discharging from employment or taking any other adverse action against an employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or other privileges of employment because the employee does not actively work and perform all regular duties at the employer's place of business due to a state of emergency during the time in which the state of emergency is in effect and applies to the areas where the employee lives or works and emergency management officials have advised individuals in those areas to evacuate or to not travel.  The bill does not require an employer to pay any employee who is not actively working.

     The bill requires an employee who is unable to work due to a state of emergency to make every possible effort to notify the employer of the absence and return to work as soon as possible, but not later than the first shift or regularly scheduled work hours occurring after the declaration of the state of emergency is rescinded, or after an emergency management official has deemed the situation to be safe, whichever occurs first.

     The bill also provides that an employer who violates the provisions of the bill will be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

     Finally, the bill defines "employee" to exclude physicians or other medical personnel or other personnel required to maintain essential healthcare services; "employer" as an employer or employer's agent, representative, or designee, but not any: public safety agency or any contractor of the agency that contracts to provide emergency repair, street clearing or other emergency services; contractor that contracts with private facility owners to provide street clearing for those facilities; licensed health care facilities; and not any public utility or public utility contractor; "public safety agency" as a division of a municipality, a county, or the State which dispatches, provides, or contracts to obtain, law enforcement, firefighting, emergency medical services, or other emergency services; and "state of emergency" as a natural or man-made disaster or emergency for which a state of emergency has been declared by the Governor.

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