New Jersey Expands its Paid Family Leave Program for Residents

This February, Governor Phil Murphy signed an expansion of New Jersey’s paid family leave program into law. Building on the state’s existing family leave program, the new bill strengthens benefits and job protections for New Jersey residents who need time off from work to take care of a newborn child or an ill family member.

NJPaidLeave

Here’s an overview of the provisions of New Jersey’s new family leave program:

- Increasing days of leave: Workers will be able to take up to 56 leave days, up from the current 42 days, within a 12-month period, effective July 1, 2020.

- Doubling time for family leave: Employees will now be able to take up to 12 consecutive weeks of paid family leave during any 12-month period, up from 6 weeks, effective July 1, 2020.

- Increasing the maximum monetary benefit: The maximum possible benefit would go up from $650 a week to $860 a week. Up to that limit, workers can receive 85 percent of their weekly wage, up from the current rate of two-thirds pay, effective July 1, 2020.

- Broadening who can qualify for leave: Those caring for siblings, in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, other relatives, and other individuals who qualify as “chosen family” are now also eligible for the program, effective February 19, 2019.

- Protecting workers from retaliation: Employers with over 30 employees will not be able to retaliate or discriminate against an employee because they took family leave, effective February 19, 2019.

- Expanding coverage for victims of domestic or sexual violence: Individuals can take family leave for medical attention, counseling, or legal proceedings as a result of domestic violence or sexual violence if they themselves were the victim of domestic or sexual violence, or if they need to care for a family member who was victimized, effective February 19, 2019.

This bill goes above and beyond the requirements of the national Family and Medical Leave Act, and when all of its tenets are in effect, New Jersey will offer the most comprehensive paid family leave time and benefits in the nation.