Recently, New Jersey took one step closer to expanding our state's 8-year-old paid family leave program when the Assembly passed legislation to improve this law.
Enacted in 2009 as part of the New Jersey Temporary Disability Insurance law, the New Jersey Paid Family Leave law was only the second state legislation - after California - to offer some type of paid family leave. The law allows workers to collect a portion of their pay when they miss work to take care of a newborn, a newly adopted child or a sick relative.
Currently, the law provides 6 weeks off at two-thirds pay with a $633 cap on the weekly benefits amount.
This year's bill looks to amend the paid family leave law in several ways:
- Increase the maximum period of family temporary disability leave benefits from 6 to 12 weeks,
- Boost the weekly cap by nearly one-third, and
- Allow intermittent family temporary disability leave benefits for bonding with a newborn or adopted child.
The New Jersey program is funded through employee payroll deductions. These withholdings are about $.50 per week with an annual maximum contribution of $33.50. The Assembly bill does not change either the deduction amount or funding mechanism.
At this time, it is unclear how the State Senate will respond to this legislature and, if passed, whether our governor will sign the changes into law.
How Is the Federal FMLA Different from the New Jersey Paid Family Leave Law?
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, requires that certain covered employers provide eligible employees with unpaid leave and job protection for qualified medical and family reasons. Group health insurance coverage continues under the same conditions as if the employee was not on leave.
The FMLA allows eligible employees to take leave for:
- Their own serious health condition
- A family member's serious health condition
- Qualifying exigencies from a family member's military deployment
- A family member's serious illness or injury arising from military service
As you can see, there are many differences between the FMLA and the New Jersey Paid Family Leave law. For one thing, FMLA leave is unpaid while the New Jersey law provides for paid leave up to certain limits. Eligibility for both programs differs as does the definitions of covered employers and family members and the degree of job protection while on leave.
Assessing eligibility for either or both of these laws can be complex. We can help if you feel that your employer has not extended paid or unpaid leave to you when you have a family or medical need.
We Can Help If You Feel That Your Employer Is Preventing You From Your Federal or State Family Leave Rights
If you or a family member has been denied federal or state family leave or has experienced employment discrimination, has been harmed in any type of personal injury or needs help with any family law issue, please contact the Law Offices of Paul S. Foreman, P.C. immediately. We have the right experience to get the optimal results for your case. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorney Paul S. Foreman, personal injury attorney in Livingston, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 973-315-3232 or contact us via the website.