New Jersey: Expanded Family and SAFE Leave and Disability Benefits

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Certain Employers with NJ Employees

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The New Jersey Governor recently signed legislation to expand the New Jersey Family Leave Act, Temporary Disability Leave Act, and Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act.  The following is a summary of key changes.

Family Leave Act (NJFLA)

Beginning June 30th, the NJFLA will apply to employers with 30 or more total employees (including those working in and outside the state), down from the current requirement for employers with 50 or more employees.  As of February 19th, the following protections were expanded:

  • “Child” includes a child of any age, a foster child, and a child who becomes the child of a parent pursuant to a valid written agreement between the parent and a gestational carrier;
  • “Family member” is expanded to include parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, any other individual related by blood to the employee, and any other individual that the employee shows to have a close association with which is the equivalent of a family relationship;
  • bonding on an intermittent basis (weeks or days) without employer approval;
  • reduced leave schedule over a period of 12 consecutive months (up from 24 consecutive weeks);
  • intermittent leave requests require 15 days’ advance notice (reduced from 30 days), except continuous bonding leave still requires 30 days’ advance notice.

Temporary Disability Leave Act (NJTDL)

As of February 19th, the following protections were expanded:

  • the definition of “family member” was expanded as stated under the NJFLA;
  • prohibits employers from requiring employees to use PTO, vacation, or other paid leave benefits in lieu of temporary disability leave benefits;
  • prohibits harassment, discrimination, and retaliation of an employee who requests paid benefits under the NJTDL; and
  • requires job reinstatement following a period of leave.

Additionally, beginning July 1, 2020, the amendments increase the benefit period to 12 weeks in a 12-month period, increase the maximum intermittent leave period from 42 days to 56 days, and increase the maximum benefits to eligible employees from $650 per week to $860 per week.

SAFE Act

As of February 19th, the SAFE Act expanded the definition of “family member” as stated under the NJFLA; permits employees to seek wage replacement benefits under the NJTDL; and prohibits employers from requiring employees to use PTO, vacation, or other employer paid leave benefits for SAFE Act purposes.

Action Items

  1. Review bill A-2975 here.
  2. Have policies and leave documentation updated to ensure compliance.
  3. Have managers trained on new guidelines.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2019 ManagEase

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