Like employers in every state, New Jersey employers must follow the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave for certain reasons. Once an employee’s FMLA leave is over, the employee has the right to be reinstated to his or her position.
New Jersey laws also give employees the right to take time off for family and medical reasons. Employees are entitled to the protections of all applicable laws; if more than one law applies, the employee may use the most beneficial provisions.
Federal FMLA Rights
New Jersey employees who are eligible may take up to 12 weeks of leave for serious health conditions, bonding with a new child, or preparation for a family member's military service; more leave is available for employees who need to care for a family member who was seriously injured on active military duty. For detailed information on FMLA leave, see Taking Family and Medical Leave.
Who Is Covered?
Employers in New Jersey are subject to the FMLA if they have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year.
Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if:
- they have worked for the company for at least a year
- they worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year, and
- they work at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Reasons for Leave
FMLA leave is available if an employee needs time off to:
- recuperate from a serious health condition
- care for a family member with a serious health condition
- bond with a new child
- handle qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member’s military service, or
- care for a family member who suffered a serious injury during active duty in the military. (You can find more information on these last two types of leave in Military Family Leave for Employees.)
How Much Leave Is Available?
New Jersey employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for a serious health condition, bonding with a new child, or qualifying exigencies. This leave is available every 12 months, as long as the employee continues to meet the eligibility requirements explained above.
Employees may take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period for military caregiver leave. However, this is a per-injury, per-service member entitlement. Unless the same family member is injured again, or another family member suffers an injury while on active duty, an employee may not take additional leave for this purpose.
Leave and Reinstatement Rights
Employees are entitled to continue their health insurance while on leave, at the same cost they must pay while working. FMLA leave is unpaid, but employees may be allowed (or required) to use their accrued paid leave during FMLA leave.
When an employee’s FMLA leave ends, the employee is entitled to be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position, with a few exceptions.
New Jersey Family and Medical Leave Law
In addition to the rights granted by the FMLA, employees in New Jersey are entitled to time off for family and medical reasons – and, in some cases, this leave is paid.
New Jersey Family and Medical Leave
Employers with at least 50 employees must allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave in any 24-month period to:
- care for a newly born or adopted child, or
- care for a family member with a serious health condition. Family members include parents-in-law and partners in a civil union.
Employees are eligible for this type of leave if they have worked for at least one year, and at least 1,000 hours in the last 12 months, for the employer.
Domestic Violence Leave in New Jersey
Employees in New Jersey may also take time off if they, or a family member, has been a victim of domestic violence or a sexually violent offense. Employees may take up to 20 days of leave in one 12-month period.
Employers must provide this leave if they have at least 25 employees. Employees are eligible for domestic violence leave if they have worked for at least one year, and at least 1,000 hours in the last 12 months, for the employer.
Temporary Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave
New Jersey has a state temporary disability program, which pays eligible employees who are temporarily unable to work due to disability (including pregnancy) up to two-thirds of their usual wages.
This same program also funds the state’s paid family leave law. Eligible employees may collect the same benefits available for temporary disabilities for up to six weeks to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child.
For More Information
You can find more information on New Jersey’s leave programs at the website of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.