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New Jersey Family Leave Insurance

New Jersey has some of the most progressive leave laws in the country. The Garden State was among the first states to provide paid time off. New Jersey mandated paid family leave in 2009.

But with several laws in place, navigating the complex landscape of leave laws in New Jersey can be challenging. From paid family leave to paid sick leave to temporary disability insurance and even unpaid leave, New Jersey offers a range of options that provide workers time away from work to care for themselves and their loved ones.

Whether it's bonding with a new child, caring for an ill family member, or addressing personal health issues, New Jersey's leave laws are designed to offer support and flexibility.

This guide breaks down key leave entitlements for New Jersey workers so you can understand your rights.

New Jersey Paid Family Leave

New Jersey's paid family leave insurance provides workers with 12 consecutive weeks of family leave or up to 56 days of intermittent leave. This leave is for the care of newly adopted children and newborns as well as family members and loved ones with a serious health condition. This insurance plan doesn't apply to the worker's individual health needs.

You can get 85% of your average weekly wage while on leave, up to a weekly benefit amount. The maximum weekly benefit rate in 2023 is $1,025. The maximum duration of benefits is six weeks within a 12-month period.

There are wage requirements. You must pay into the state's family leave insurance program via payroll deductions. You must have earned at least $260 weekly for 20 weeks or $13,000 in the base year period, which is about 18 months before taking leave.

Employers with an approved private plan don't have to comply with the state plan. But the private plan must provide equal or better benefits.

Qualifying Reasons for New Jersey Paid Family Leave

Employees who pay into the New Jersey Family Leave Insurance plans can use the plan for specific, strictly determined family and medical circumstances.

The following are qualifying reasons for leave:

  • Bonding leave (the need to bond with a new child, whether newborn baby, adopted or foster child)
  • To care for a relative (such as a spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent, grandparent, parent-in-law, or child who has a serious health condition)
  • To care for any loved one with a serious health condition (a loved one means someone with whom the worker has a family relationship)
  • To handle issues related to domestic and sexual violence
  • To care for loved ones dealing with domestic violence or sexual assault

A "serious health condition" typically requires medical certification. An appropriate medical source must certify the physical or mental condition. The condition must require inpatient care in a hospital or medical care facility or continuing medical treatment by a health care provider.

New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law

New Jersey employers must provide employees with paid sick leave. Workers earn one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked up to 40 hours under the New Jersey law. Employees get 100% of their pay while on leave.

Employee includes:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • Seasonal employees

The requirement does not cover independent contractors.

Qualifying Reasons for New Jersey Sick Leave

New Jersey employees can use paid sick leave:

  • To care for themselves, including preventive treatment
  • To care for a loved one, including diagnostic and preventive treatment
  • To attend a child's school-related events, such as a meeting or conference
  • During a public health emergency, such as a quarantine or when school or child care is closed because of an epidemic or public health emergency
  • To deal with domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault

Temporary Disability Insurance

New Jersey has a temporary disability benefits law. New Jersey offers temporary disability insurance (TDI). TDI is disability leave provided to a worker for a non-work-related injury or sickness, including pregnancy, that results in the employee's inability to perform his or her regular job duties. TDI is available for as many as 26 weeks over 12 months.

Workers receive 85% of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum weekly benefit of $1,025 for 2023.

The eligibility requirements are the same as those for paid family leave.

Unpaid Leave

Unpaid leave is available in New Jersey.

The New Jersey SAFE Act provides time off to handle domestic violence and sexually violent occurrences. Employers must provide up to 20 days of unpaid leave in 12 months. The victim or a family member may take the leave.

Workers in New Jersey can also get unpaid family leave. Employers with 30 more employees must comply with the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA). Workers get 12 weeks of unpaid leave over two years to care for a family member or domestic partner or when a state of emergency is declared because of an epidemic.

The NJFLA is the state equivalent of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. It mirrored the FMLA requirements until recent changes that made obedience to the law a requirement for more employers, among other things.

The FMLA allows workers to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave when a serious health condition prevents them from working. Employees can also take FMLA leave for family purposes or an exigency related to a family member's active military duty. A work absence under the FMLA is protected leave. This means that your employer must provide you with your job or its equivalent upon your return to work. The law applies to employers with 50 or more employees.

Get Legal Help To Discuss Your Options

Understanding that your income is secure while on leave and having confidence that your job will be waiting for you upon your return can provide immense peace of mind. If you're uncertain about your leave options or feel that your leave rights have been violated, a New Jersey employment law attorney can offer guidance.

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