NJ Lawmakers Expand Employee Rights and Benefits

NJ Family Leave Act

On the paid leave front in New Jersey, Governor Murphy signed into law Bill A-3975 on February 19, 2019, which significantly expands benefits for employees under the existing New Jersey’s paid family leave laws, including the New Jersey Family Leave Act (FLA) and New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (FLI) law. The sweeping new law revises current law about family leave, temporary disability and family temporary disability leave, and domestic or sexual violence safety leave.

Key Changes:

  • Doubles the number of weeks for Paid Leave: Starting in July 2020, employees, regardless of the size of their employer, will be able to take up to 12 consecutive weeks of paid family leave under FLI during any 12-month period. Right now, employees are only allowed to take up to 6 weeks of FLI in a 12-month period.  This change means that while employees can take the paid leave, their jobs are not necessarily protected while on such leave.
  • Increases the pay received weekly: Under the FLI, weekly pay benefits will increase from $650 to approximately $860. The new law also applies to those employees eligible for Temporary Disability Insurance Benefits.
  • Increases the number of days of intermittent leave: Starting in July 2020, employees will be able to take up to 56 days of intermittent leave within a 12-month period, beginning in July 2020. Currently, employees are only permitted to take up to 42 days.
  • Expands Definition of Covered Employers:  The FLA currently applies to employers with 50 or more employees, and job-protected family leave was only for 6 weeks. However, effective June 30, 2019, employers with 30 or more employees (in total, anywhere) will have to provide employees with 12 weeks of job-protected family leave during each 24-month period.
  • Expands eligibility to take paid family leave: Under the FLA, paid family leave benefits now includes care for siblings, in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, other blood relatives, and any other individuals who can be shown to have the equivalent of a family relationship.
  • Covers domestic and sexual violence victims: Employees may now take FLI benefits for medical attention, counseling, or legal assistance or proceedings arising out of domestic violence or sexual violence. Employees, who were themselves victims of domestic or sexual violence, or need to care for a family member who was such a victim, can now take family leave.

Author: Jessica S. Allen
Counsel, Keefe Law Firm
Practice Area Center: Employment Law
Practice Area Category: Paid Leave

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