On July 3, 2023, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a new bill into law, A-5060/S-3440, which expands the definition of sick leave, N.J.S.A. 18A:30-1, et. seq., and the circumstances in which a board of education may require a physician’s certificate and/or advance notice from school district employees who intend to use sick leave.
Prior to the amendments, school employees were permitted to use sick leave for 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.
School employees can now use sick leave in the following expanded circumstances:
- For their own personal illness or injury.
- For the diagnosis of, care of, treatment of, or recovery from their own mental or physical illness, injury, or other adverse health condition, or for their own preventive medical care.
- To aid or care for a family member during the diagnosis of, care of, treatment of, or recovery from their family member’s mental or physical illness, injury, or other adverse health condition, or for their family member’s preventive medical care.
- For circumstances resulting from the employee or a family member of the employee being the victim of domestic sexual violence to obtain specific services.
- For the death of a family member for up to seven days.
- For an employee to attend a child’s school-related conference, meeting, function, or other event requested by those responsible for the child’s education, or to attend a meeting regarding the care necessary for a child’s health conditions or disability.
- The school or place of care of an employee’s child is closed by order of a public official or because of a state of emergency due to an epidemic or other public health emergency.
- The employee has been exposed to a contagious disease or is quarantined for the disease because it is in the employee’s immediate household.
School 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.
The New Jersey School Boards Association has released an update to its Critical Policy Reference Manual, File Code 4151.1/4251.1, which includes amendments based upon the new law. Members can access this update as well as the CPRM by logging in to the NJSBA Policy website.