New Jersey Leave Laws: Paid Family Leave, FMLA, and More

New Jersey employees may be eligible for paid family leave under state law, and unpaid time off under the federal FMLA.

By , J.D.

Employees in New Jersey are entitled to time off work for certain family and medical reasons under federal and state laws. Some of this leave is paid.

Here's what workers in New Jersey need to know about their rights to take leave, both paid and unpaid.

Paid Family Leave in New Jersey

Under New Jersey law, employees are entitled to partial pay while they take time off to bond with a child or care for an ill family member. Paid family leave is funded through deductions from employee paychecks, not through employer contributions.

To be eligible for benefits in 2023, New Jersey employees must meet one of the following wage requirements:

  • worked for at least 20 weeks, making at least $260 per week, during the 52 weeks preceding the claim, or
  • earned at least $13,000 in wages during the 52 weeks preceding the claim.

Covered Reasons

Employees may take leave for one of the following covered reasons:

  • to bond with a child (birth, foster, or adopted)
  • to care for any of the following individuals if they have a serious health condition: spouse, registered domestic partner, civil union partner, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, child, or any other blood relative or individual with whom you have the equivalent of a family relationship.

Paid family leave is not available when an employee takes leave for his or her own illness. However, for short-term disabilities—including pregnancy and other medical conditions—the employee may be able to collect state disability benefits.

For more information, see the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development's Temporary Disability Insurance page.

How Much Is Paid Family Leave?

The New Jersey paid family leave program provides partial wage replacements to employees for a limited amount of time. Employees receive 85 percent of their average weekly earnings, with a maximum benefit of $1,025 per week, for up to 12 continuous weeks (or 56 intermittent days) per 12-month period.

How Do I Apply For Paid Family Leave?

You can apply for New Jersey's paid family leave by completing a claim form provided by your employer or through the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development's online filing system. For the quickest processing time, the department recommends filing online.

If you are taking leave to care for a sick family member, you will need to get a certification from your family member's doctor. The doctor can file this certification through the online system as well.

For bonding leave, you will need to provide evidence of your child's birth, adoption, or foster care. Acceptable documents include a birth certificate, hospital discharge records, and a certification of adoption, among others.

You must file your application within 30 days after you begin your leave. Otherwise, you may lose your right to collect benefits. To avoid this, it's best to file your claim on the day you start your leave.

You must also give your employer notice of your leave within a certain time frame. For bonding leave, you must give notice at least 30 days before the start of your leave. Otherwise, you might lose up to 14 days of benefits. For leave to care for an ill family member, you must give your employer reasonable advance notice.

Is My Job Protected While I Am On Leave?

The New Jersey paid family leave program only gives employees the right to collect benefits; it does not provide job protection. This means that you can collect benefits from the state, but your employer may not be required to give you the time off or keep your job for you while you are on leave.

However, other state and federal laws may offer the right to take leave and reinstatement after the leave is over, including the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (discussed below).

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

New Jersey has a state temporary disability (TDI) program, which pays eligible employees who are temporarily unable to work due to disability (including pregnancy and childbirth) up to two-thirds of their usual wages for up to 26 weeks in a 12-month period.

TDI leave for pregnancy can begin up to four weeks before your due date and can continue for six weeks after giving birth (eight weeks for cesarean section).

You might be entitled to additional time if your doctor recommends additional time before giving birth or for your recovery period.

Federal FMLA Rights

Like employers in every state, New Jersey employers must follow the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, 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 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.)

Federal FMLA: 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.

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.

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