Last October, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Paid Sick Leave Act into law that requires New Jersey employers to provide full-time, part-time and temporary employees with earned sick leave.

The law stipulates an employee will accrue one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked, totaling up to 40 hours every year — but sick leave can also be taken for certain situations that don’t involve any illness at all.

Robert Asaro-Angelo, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, said the new law can also be used to go to school appointments for your child.

“So if you have a parent-teacher conference, a back-to-school night, maybe unfortunately a meeting with the principal — you can use your earned sick time to cover that time so you don’t have to decide between making a few hours of pay or going to be involved in your kid’s schooling,"  Asaro-Angelo said.

He said the law lets parents to do this because “we want healthy and vibrant families in New Jersey that should lead to a healthy, vibrant economy. Those two go hand in hand.”

“Having sick leave is about building a healthy workforce and a healthy state, and part of that healthy state is making sure your kids are supported in school," Asaro-Angelo said.

He said if a worker doesn't have the freedom to take care of his or her child, or to be involved in the child's schooling, "this all goes in one big circle, quite frankly.”

He said the law gives “businesses, our employers and our employees, workers, students, principals, teachers, all the support that they need to create a thriving education and talent ecosystem here in New Jersey.”

More information on the law is at mysickdays.nj.gov — employees can point employers who aren't clued in on all the provisions there.

Angelo said the department has done “a lot of outreach, so hopefully it shouldn’t be a problem.”

He also pointed out earned sick leave can be used to take care of a family member.

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