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Shops Receive Employment Law Updates at AASP/NJ Meeting

In response to recent employment law changes in the Garden State, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) announced that it brought in David M. Bander, Esq. (executive director, Policy Office New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development), to provide shop owners with the tools and information they need to run their businesses accordingly. The meeting was held Jan.15 at the Holiday Inn in Clark, N.J.

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“There has been an explosion of activity over the past two years under the Murphy administration,” said Bander. “We’ve seen things like the minimum wage increase, paid sick leave, wage theft law and the equal pay act. All of these important laws affect you as employers and there is probably more to come.”

Bander devoted time to reviewing the importance of the Earned Sick Leave Law, which applies to nearly every employer in New Jersey. He addressed how much time employers must provide to employees and what required information about the law must be posted in their place of employment.

“If you are an employee working in New Jersey, you are covered by the Earned Sick Leave Law,” Bander said. “It provides employees with time to care for themselves or family members, and employers have to ensure that their policies at least meet the minimum [sick leave] required [by the law].”

Bander answered various questions from the audience regarding what events qualify as sick time and whether an employer can discipline an employee if they were to abuse sick time, what qualifies as blackout dates and what the rules are regarding holiday pay.

One shop owner expressed interest in having employees sign timecards at the end of the week, which Bander agreed was a good idea, as the document could serve as evidence if there was ever an investigation.

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“It shows that not only did you pay your employees, but you had them sign and acknowledge,” said Bander. “You are playing by the rules.”

Bander reviewed the Family Leave Law and what shop owners need to be aware of as employers. The law recently changed to increase the amount of paid leave from what was the equivalent of two-thirds of one’s average weekly salary to 85 percent of one’s average weekly salary. Pregnancy is the most frequently used example of paid family leave, according to Bander.

When jokingly asked by a member whether or not the death of a pet could qualify, Bander said that the death of the pet itself would not pertain as a qualifying event. However, if it causes grief or mental trauma and makes one ill, it could indeed be seen as a permitted use of the law. This response, according to AASP/NJ, was met unsurprisingly by groans and eye-rolls from the packed room.

AASP/NJ has made the materials Bander provided at the meeting available to all of its members. For more information on AASP/NJ, visit aaspnj.org.

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