Governor Murphy has signed a bill into law greatly expanding NJ’s Family Leave Programs. Among other things, the law expands the length of paid family leave from 6 weeks to 12 weeks, expands upon the definitions of covered individuals and reasons for leave, increases weekly benefit amounts and provides job protections to workers working for employers with 30 or more employees (previously, this threshold was set at 50 or more employees). The law also makes changes to NJ’s Temporary Disability Program.
EANJ has compiled a summary of important changes below. We will also hold a one-hour webinar - see details below.
NJ Family Leave Act
- Employers with 30 or more employees now covered (previously only those with 50 or more were covered). This means covered employees working for an employer with 30 or more employees will now be eligible for up to 12-weeks of job protection when they need to be out for a qualifying reason (effective June 30, 2019).
- Employee can take time off to care for a child of any age; no longer must be under 18 or over 18 but incapable of self-care (effective immediately).
- Expanded definitions of covered family members, including sibling, grandparent, grandchild, any other individual related by blood to the employee, and any other individual that the employee shows to have a close association with the employee which is equivalent of a family relationship (effective immediately).
- Expanded reasons for leave, including foster care placement and when a family member is a victim of domestic or sexual violence (effective immediately).
- Intermittent and reduced leave now available for bonding without needing employer agreement (effective immediately).
Temporary Disability Benefits (TDB)/Family Leave Insurance (FLI)
- Increases FLI benefits from 6 to 12 weeks for any period of FLI commencing after 7/1/2020;
- Expands definitions under FLI, including adding sibling, grandparent, grandchild, any other individual related by blood to the employee, and any other individual that the employee shows to have a close association with the employee which is equivalent of a family relationship to the definition of covered family member.
- Employee could use TDB or FLI during a period of otherwise unpaid SAFE leave - when they or a family member are a victim of domestic or sexual violence;
- Increases the wages on which taxes for TDI & FLI are levied from 28 times the statewide average weekly wage ($33,700) to 107 times the statewide average weekly wage (approx. $131,000) beginning 1/1/20;
- No increases are funded by employer contributions;
- For periods of TDB/FLI commencing on or after July 1, 2020, an individual’s weekly benefit rate shall be 85% of the individuals average weekly wage (currently 2/3rds) subject to a maximum of 70% of the Statewide average weekly remuneration paid to workers by employers. This would raise the maximum amount a person could receive for TDB or FLI from approximately $638 to $860 per week.
- Partial TDB benefits will be available.
- Employers can permit, but can no longer require, employees to use up to two weeks accrued paid time as part of their FLI. The state will no longer reduce the benefits paid accordingly.
- 7-day waiting period for FLI benefits eliminated.
- FLI can be collected from one employer while employee continues to work for a 2nd employer, provided they don’t increase their hours with the 2nd employer.
- FLI will be paid for intermittent baby bonding without employer approval. 15 days advance notice is required by individual.
- An employer can not retaliate against an employee by refusing to restore the employee following a period of leave, subject to the provisions of NJ Family Leave Act.