New Jersey employment laws at both the state and federal levels protect the rights of employees to take time off from work for certain reasons. These include medical issues affecting themselves or family members. Employers must allow workers to return to their jobs, or a substantially similar job with the same pay and benefits, at the end of their authorized leave. New Jersey provides paid leave for personal or family medical issues. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for similar reasons. Employees must work for a covered employer and meet eligibility requirements in order to take protected FMLA leave. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued an updated poster that covered employers must display in the workplace. The poster outlines employees’ rights and employers’ obligations under the statute.
Family leave is available to New Jersey workers through state law as a form of insurance. Covered employers fund the system through payroll taxes. To be eligible, a worker must have worked the minimum number of hours necessary to pay into the program. Eligible workers in New Jersey may be able to take up to:
– 26 weeks of medical leave for non-work-related injuries or illnesses;
– 12 weeks of family leave to care for a family member;
– 12 weeks of family leave for a new parent to bond with a newborn infant or newly adopted or fostered child within one year of the child’s arrival; or
– 12 weeks of family leave for a new mother to bond with her infant, as well as 26 weeks of temporary disability leave before and after the birth.
The amount of pay workers may receive while on leave is equal to 85% of their average weekly pay or $1,025 per week, whichever amount is smaller. Unpaid leave with job protection is also available under state law.
The benefits offered by the FMLA are simpler than those provided by New Jersey law. Eligible employees may take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for:
– A new child, whether by birth, adoption, or foster placement;
– A serious illness or injury that prevents an individual from working;
– A close family member’s serious illness or injury; or
– Issues related to the military deployment of a close family member.
The eligibility rules for FMLA leave, on the other hand, are quite complicated. An employee must work for a covered employer, and they must meet minimum requirements for the number of hours worked.