New Jersey Family Leave Act Regulations

New Jersey Family Leave Act RegulationsThe New Jersey Family Leave Act regulations (NJFLA) is one of four state level maternity leave regulations that apply to workers. The law when combined with the Federal act (FMLA) may provide up to 24 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave.

The regulation work best for women who need to take an extended leave prior to delivery because of high-risk pregnancy, or complications. Look more closely at how this works in three segments.

  1. Benefits for pregnancy
  2. Eligibility criteria
  3. Versus FMLA

NJ Family Leave Act Benefits

The NJ Family Leave Act benefits provide up to twelve weeks of job protected leave every twenty four months.  The benefits become most apparent when women experience complications of pregnancy, and need to stop working prior to delivery. In most other scenarios the benefits are far less apparent as the federal regulation works in similar ways, and covers a similar population.

This regulation works in concert with three other NJ laws regarding maternity leave that provide job protections and income replacement.

Pregnancy Complications

The New Jersey Family Leave Act regulations do not provide job protection benefits for an employee’s own disability. Twenty five percent of pregnancies experience one or more complications that may be considered a serious medical condition, and result in a disabling condition.  New Jersey FLA does not provide job protection benefits during a female employee’s bed rest disability.

The prospective father may be able to utilize the job protected leave to care for his spouse who is considered seriously ill.

While this guideline appears overly harsh on the surface, it works to the family’s benefit more often than not. The federal counterpart covers very similar populations, but with one important distinction: an employee’s own disability qualifies. Under this scenario, a female employee may be entitled to 12 weeks under FMLA, and can take advantage of this during the time prior to delivery.

Maternity Leave Baby Bonding Time

Under the scenario noted above mom may utilize some of her three months of FMLA time prior to her delivery. After recovering from childbirth, she is no longer considered disabled. The NJ Family Leave Act then allows her to then take a subsequent leave to care for her infant at home, and bond with her baby.

The NJ Paid Family Leave program would provide six weeks of partial income replacement while mom bonds with her baby. The same benefit is also available to fathers.

NJ Family Leave Act Eligibility

The New Jersey FLA has eligibility guidelines that cover only a minority of people in the state. There are three common places to find holes: only workers are eligible, hours worked, and employer size criteria.

Notice the law applies to workers, but not residents. The Garden State provides extensive bus and rail systems for commuters to leave the state to work. Residents who commute across the Hudson and Delaware rivers to work in other states are not covered by these statutes. The neighboring states do not have similar family leave laws.

Eligibility criteria also apply based upon hours worked, and employer size. As you can see there are only very minor variations between NJ Family Leave Act eligibility criteria compared to the Federal FMLA.

NJ Family Leave versus FMLA

When comparing the New Jersey Family Leave Act regulations versus FMLA two things should jump out:

  1. The eligibility criteria are very close
  2. The primary difference relates to covering an employee’s own disability

Women experiencing complications of pregnancy provide the clearest need, and most common application for use of both regulations for extended job protected time.

Qualifying Criteria

New Jersey FLA

Federal FMLA

Employer

50 + employees nationwide
working during the previous or current year

50 + workers within
75 mile radius of worksite

Reasons

Employee disability not covered

Employee disability allowed

Hours Worked

1,000 hours in last 12 months

1,250 hours in last 12 months

Amount of Time

12 weeks in 24 months

12 weeks in 12 months

Exceptions

7 most highly compensated employees exempt
Top 5% of employees by base salary are exempt

None

Employees qualifying under both the NJ and Federal laws must take the leave concurrently. In this scenario, the employee is entitled to only 12 weeks of job protection during any 12 month period.

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