Paid Family Leave Signed By Governor Corzine

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With the stroke of Gov. Jon Corzine's pen, New Jersey is now the third state in the nation to enact a law to let employees take up to six weeks off a year with limited pay to care for a new child or ill family member. Employees could collect up to two-thirds of their pay, to a maximum of $524 a week.

The law applies to every employer, regardless of size, including government agencies, and covers employees now covered by the unemployment law.  A payroll tax deduction will begin in January, 2009 and benefits can be paid starting in July.

What follows is a summary: 

Permits up to 6 weeks of benefits for workers to provide care for an ill or disabled family member or care for a newborn or newly adopted child.

Covers domestic partners and civil union partners as family members.

Allows a worker to receive no more than two-thirds of their weekly pay, up to a maximum weekly benefit of $524 in 2008. The employer may require the employee take up to two weeks of available sick or vacation pay and workers must provide as much as 30-days advance notice of leave, when possible.

Offers employees the option to receive benefits intermittently.

The program is funded by employee contributions, through a payroll deduction on the first $27,700 earned (in 2008). The deduction begins at about $33 a year.

Provides employers with 50 or fewer employees with the option to replace employees receiving benefits, although this option must be consistent with federal and state discrimination law.