Since 2009, New Jersey has provided employees with partial pay while they take time off to bond with a new 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, New Jersey employees must meet one of the following wage requirements:
Employees must also take leave for one of the following covered reasons:
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.
The New Jersey paid family leave program provides partial wage replacements to employees for a limited amount of time. Employees will receive two-thirds of their average weekly earnings, up to a maximum set by state law. As of January 1, 2016, the maximum weekly benefit is $615.
Benefits are paid for a maximum of six weeks. A seven-day waiting period applies, which means the employee must be out of work for a full week before starting to receive benefits. However, employees who take more than three weeks of leave will be paid retroactively for the initial week. New mothers who have been receiving state disability insurance benefits due to pregnancy and childbirth are not subject to the waiting week.
Employers can require employees to use up to two weeks of paid accrued leave before starting to receive benefits; one of these weeks counts as the seven-day waiting period.
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 or adoption. 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.
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. For example, employers with 50 or more employees must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave to employees under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and New Jersey’s family and medical leave law. To learn more about these laws, see New Jersey Family and Medical Leave.