New Jersey Expands Paid Family Leave

On February 19, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a sweeping expansion of the State’s paid family leave program. The law takes effect immediately, although many of the increases to benefits will not commence until July 2020. The changes to New Jersey’s paid family leave program include the following:

  • Doubling the period of potential paid benefits: Beginning July 1, 2020, eligible employees can take up to 12 consecutive weeks of Family Leave Insurance (FLI) and 12 consecutive weeks of Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) in any 12–month period. Currently, eligible employees are only permitted to take 6 weeks of FLI or TDI in a 12-month period
  • Increasing the weekly benefit: Eligible employees can now receive 85 percent of their weekly wage, with the maximum possible benefit going up to 70 percent of the statewide average weekly wage. Using data from this year, the maximum possible benefit would increase from $650 a week to $860 a week under this law
  • Increasing intermittent leave: Beginning July 1, 2020, eligible employees will be able to take up to 56 days of intermittent leave within a 12-month period
  • Anti-retaliation provisions: Employers with over 30 employees will be barred from retaliating or discriminating against an employee because they took family leave
  • Expanding individuals eligible to take paid family leave: Eligible employees can now take paid family leave to care for siblings, in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, other blood relatives, and any other individuals who can be shown to have the equivalent of a family relationship
  • Including domestic and sexual violence: The law allows family temporary disability leave to be taken for medical attention, counseling, or legal assistance or proceedings arising out of domestic violence or sexual violence. An eligible employee can take family leave under this provision if they themselves were the victim of domestic or sexual violence, or if they need to care for a family member who was such a victim

In light of this act, employers should review their policies to ensure that they are up to date. Employers can reach out to the employment attorneys at Brown & Connery, LLP for assistance in revising their policies and guidance with this or any other employment challenge they face.