Current New Jersey Leave Laws
By Karen Hooper | Published May 8, 2019
Current New Jersey Family Leave Act
Employers with 50 or more employees anywhere worldwide must provide unpaid family and medical leave to employees who have been employed for 12 months and have worked at least 1,000 hours for the covered employer during the previous 12 months. This is a job protected and benefits protected leave which provides 12 weeks of leave within a 24-month period and can be taken for:
Birth or adoption of a child
Need to care for a family member with a serious health condition
Current Family Leave Insurance Law
Under the Family Leave Insurance Provisions of the New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law, employees are eligible for up to 6 weeks of paid leave to bond with a child or care for a family member with a serious health condition. The program provides up to 6 weeks of paid leave at a rate of 2/3 of weekly pay to a maximum of $650/week. Employees receive a deduction of .08% of taxable wages capped at $34,400 year. The maximum yearly deduction is $27.52
Leave can be taken for 42 intermittent days during a 12-month period.
Current New Jersey SAFE Act
New Jersey SAFE Act provides that employees are able to take up to 20 days leave in a 12-month period to address circumstances resulting from domestic violence or a sexually violent offense to the employee, or to the employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or civil union partner. Employees must have worked at least 1,000 hours in the immediately preceding 12-month period.
What is changing June 30, 2019?
New Jersey Family Leave Act
The reasons for leave under the New Jersey Family Leave Act have been expanded to:
Caring for any child age 18 or older, sibling, grandparent, domestic partner, foster parent, any individual related by blood, or any individual with a close association equivalent to a family relationship
Bonding with a newborn child conceived through a gestational carrier agreement, or with a newly placed foster child,
Bonding on an intermittent basis in full-day increments without employer
Providing 15 days advance notice for intermittent bonding (30-day notice is still required for continuous bonding leave)
Effective June 30, 2019, the New Jersey employers with 30 or more employees worldwide will need to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of job protected leave in a 24-month period.
New Jersey SAFE Act
Protections under the NJ SAFE Act have been increased to provide 20 days of leave if the employee, or employee’s family member has been the victim of domestic violence or a sexually violent offense.
The definition of eligible family has been changed to mirror the definition of family under the Family leave act: parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, any individual related by blood, or any other individual with a close association equivalent to a family relationship.
What is changing July 1, 2020?
New Jersey Family Leave Insurance
Effective July 1, 2020, employees will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid family leave within a 12-month period. The amount of intermittent leave is increased from 42 days to 56 days in a 12-month period. The amendment raised the cap on the weekly benefit amount to 85% of an employee’s weekly salary, to a maximum of 70% of the average weekly wage. The weekly maximum is expected to be $859 per week in 2020. With the increase in benefit, the employee payroll tax will be expanded to the first $131,000 in wages. The tax rate has not yet been determined.
New Jersey Family Leave Insurance and New Jersey SAFE Act
Employees taking leave under NJ SAFE Leave act will now be eligible for paid leave under the New Jersey Family Leave insurance.
What should employers do now?
Employers should begin updating their handbooks and policies to incorporate the expanded definitions. New Jersey will be issuing update posters and notices. Employers will need to display these posters and must furnish a Family Leave Insurance program notice to each employee at the time of hire, upon request, or whenever the employee provides notice of intent to use family leave.
VP, Senior Compliance Manager
Karen Hooper, CEBS, CMS, Fellow, is a Vice President and Senior Compliance Manager working closely with the Lead Benefit Counsel in Newfront's Employee Benefits division. She works closely with internal staff and clients regarding compliance issues, providing information, education and training.