While the New Jersey Legislature is considering legislation to address the employment consequences of COVID-19, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has published a Q&A regarding COVID-19 and how it interacts with New Jersey’s current employment laws. 

In particular, the NJDOL reminds employers and employees that:

  • Those who experience a reduction in hours, are furloughed, or laid off may be eligible for full or partial unemployment benefits.
  • Workers’ compensation benefits may be available to employees who contract COVID-19 at work or who are required to quarantine because of exposure during work.
  • The New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law covers absences required because of COVID-19 illnesses, quarantines, and school or childcare closures, including absences required because the employee’s healthcare provider has determined that they are at greater risk due to a pre-existing health condition.  The latter may also entitle the employee to Temporary Disability Insurance benefits.  Of note, if an employer remains open, absent the circumstances set forth above, the Earned Sick Leave Law does not entitle an employee to refuse to come to work if a public official has not closed their place of employment for a public health reason.
  • Absences required so that an employee can care for a family member who has COVID-19 or its symptoms may be eligible for job protected leave under the New Jersey Family Leave Act and for Family Leave Insurance benefits.

We will continue to monitor legislative and administrative measures, and will update you on any changes in the law.