New Jersey state maternity leave laws combine to provide both men and women with job protection rights, and partially paid leave. However, the answers to “how much and how long is maternity leave NJ”, varies widely depending upon a variety of circumstances.
New Jersey state maternity leave laws permit up to 18 weeks of partially paid leave. Job protections may last up to 24 weeks but apply to fewer workers. Break down the maternity leave laws in NJ into digestible chunks.
- Benefit Amounts: how much you get, and how long they last
- Job Protections: how long do they last, and who is eligible?
- What application forms and paperwork is required?
New Jersey State Paid Maternity Leave Laws
New Jersey State paid maternity leave laws provide parents with several sources of income replacement. For those of you asking how much, the benefits amounts depend on your income, plus your choices and needs prior to conception. There are several programs highlighted below.
Health Insurance Continuation
Request a health insurance quote. Under the law, a loss of health insurance coverage because of a reduction in hours worked is a qualifying life event. You can begin a new plan during a special enrollment period. You may qualify for income-based subsidies to help pay premiums.
Your employer must continue your health benefits for twelve weeks on the same basis as an actively working employee – provided you meet FMLA and NJFLA criteria.
- Small business employees (less than 50 employees) can lose coverage immediately.
- All workers can lose coverage after twelve weeks.
State Disability Benefits
New Jersey state temporary disability benefits provide maternity leave income. Benefits amounts are two-thirds of your gross income, up to a hard dollar cap, which increases every year. The program pays benefits for twelve weeks for normal childbirth: four weeks prior to delivery, and up to eight weeks for C-section birth.
The maternity leave benefits last for up to six months, if you are continuously disabled, and can provide a doctor’s note.
Short-term disability for pregnancy can increase your maternity leave benefit. What happens if pregnancy complications require you to miss several months of work prior to delivery? Suddenly, a one-third pay cut or more may not be enough. Do not take chances. Buy this supplemental policy prior to conception to improve your finances.
Paid Family Leave
The New Jersey Paid Family Leave program provides partial income replacement for parents for baby bonding time during parental leave. Paid baby bonding time lasts for six weeks. Both mom and dad qualify.
You can find several New Jersey State maternity leave application forms on the Department of Labor website. Read the paperwork requirements carefully before submitting your application.
Remember, NJ has three different state programs with three distinct application forms that you will need to complete. The federal government has another. You may need some extra cash to make ends meet since you must cope with at least a 1/3 pay cut. A short-term loan request runs the total to five.
- Temporary Disability Application Form
- Paid Family Leave Application Form
- Family Leave Act – employer may require a signed certification form attesting to need
- FMLA Application Form
- Short-Term Loan Application Form
NJ laws do not provide for collecting unemployment during maternity leave. Some states have adopted a more “modern” definition of qualifying events, which may include a “compelling family reason.” If you quit work because of your own disability, or to care for a sick family member, you may not be eligible to collect unemployment.
New Jersey Maternity Leave of Absence Laws
State maternity leave of absence laws in New Jersey also provides job protections that vary in length and eligibility. Job protections can last as long as twenty-four weeks – if you are eligible.
By far the most important distinction relates to women experiencing complications of pregnancy, and/or giving birth to a sick infant. When this occurs, you need to understand the most important difference between two laws providing job-protected leave of absence.
One law provides job protections while she is disabled, and the other provides job protections while she is caring for her infant.
State Family Leave Act
The NJ Family Leave Act provides job-protected leave of absence to care for a sick family member or job-protected baby-bonding time. It applies to employers over 50 employees anywhere worldwide. It allows for 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 24-month period.
Unlike the federal law, it does not apply to an employee’s own disability. What appears on the surface to be a limitation, actually allows you to have two sets of twelve-week leaves run sequentially. This scenario plays out frequently when mom is first disabled (FMLA), then takes baby bonding time (NJFMLA).
The NJ law duplicates paternity leave for fathers to care for his sick wife or to spend time at home bonding with his newborn baby. Because fathers are not disabled, they are not able to take sequential paternity leave as in the situation noted above.
Female teachers do have the ability to sequence maternity leave of absence by combining the two laws together. Male teachers cannot sequence leave. FMLA covers teachers regardless of employee size while the NJ law covers teachers working in schools with 50 or more employees.
State employees are covered under both the NJ State Family Leave Act and the Federal FMLA. As before, female state employees have additional maternity leave rights because they can sequence. Male state employees can take paternity leave of absence concurrently under the two laws.
Federal Family Medical Leave Act
New Jersey maternity leave laws and the federal Family Medical Leave Act play together well when mom experiences complications. The federal version of the law provides job-protected leave of absence during an employee’s own disability, or when caring for a sick family member. This allows the two laws to be combined sequentially when mom experiences complications.
However, there are eligibility criteria that are similar to the NJ counterpart. Workers may enjoy job protections rights under both, one, or none of these laws. Do the homework.
Family Building Act
New Jersey state maternity leave laws contain a hidden gem easily overlooked. Not every couple is able to conceive. Without conception, there is no maternity leave.
The NJ Family Building Act requires coverage for infertility treatments. Without the law, many couples would take on significant debt just before facing an extended maternity leave with partial pay and uncertain job security.
Image credit: rabbit75123 / 123RF Stock Photo