Few issues cause more headaches for New Jersey businesses than family leave. Between the state and federal governments, businesses with 50 or more workers have to comply with eight different laws, all of which have their own sets of rules and record-keeping requirements.
So it’s no surprise that we get quite a few calls at the Member Action Center looking for clarifications. Two recent ones involve issues that come up pretty frequently, so I thought it would be good to share them.
Please note that I am not an attorney and, by law, I cannot provide legal advice. The following is meant to be general information to assist in your overall understanding of New Jersey leave laws.
Need help with a business problem or question? Contact NJBIA’s Member Action Center: 1-800-499-4419, ext. 3, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Leave for Fathers Usually Runs Concurrently
Barring any extreme circumstances, three laws typically come into play when we discuss paternity leave. Two of these laws provide protected time off for employees who work for companies with 50 or more employees—NJFLA (NJ Family Leave Act) and FMLA (Federal Family & Medical Leave Act). The third, NJFLI (New Jersey Family Leave Insurance) applies to everyone as long as they’ve worked 20 weeks and earned at least $8,400 over that time.
For employees working for big companies, the federal and state protected leave laws (FMLA and NJFLA) each provide 12 weeks of protected leave to bond with a newborn child and can run concurrently. Neither FMLA or NJFLA supplement the employee’s salary, but an employee could apply for paid family leave (NJFLI) at the same time, which provides six weeks of partial wage replacement up to $633/week as long as the employer is not paying the employee over this time. The employee would still have a total of 12 weeks of protected leave—not 18—because, remember, paid leave (NJFLI) provides no job protection, just income replacement.
Leave for Mothers Can Be Longer
For mothers, the leave will not necessarily run concurrently. Again, if we’re talking about an employer with 50 more employees, FMLA, unlike NJFLA, allows an employee to take protected leave for her own medical condition. The FMLA leave could start the day the baby is born, or it could start earlier if the doctor deems she is disabled before the birth.
A woman who works until the day she gives birth and has a normal delivery would typically be eligible for six weeks of FMLA to recover from her own disability, after which she begins to care for the baby and triggers NJFLA. NJFLA and FMLA can run concurrently for six weeks since both FMLA and NJFLA can be used to care for a baby. This mother would get the full 12 weeks of leave.
If a woman’s recovery is much more complicated, and her doctor says she is disabled for a full 12 weeks, then all 12 of those weeks would be FMLA. When she fully recovers, she would be entitled to another 12 weeks NJFLA to care for the baby. This mother would be entitled to a total of 24 weeks of leave. Like the example above, the woman could collect some income through NJFLI while she is bonding with the baby. In addition, while she is considered disabled – and only for that time – she would likely be eligible for some income though the state’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program.
In answering questions like these, we also get asked about what forms to fill out. There is no state-required form for NJFLA, but there is one for FMLA (See: https://www.dol.gov/whd/forms/WH-382.pdf).
The FMLA regulations say you can create your own form to capture information on both leaves at the same time as long as it contains the required FMLA information. TDI and FLI forms are provided by the state at
The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only, specific to New Jersey-based employers. The article does not constitute legal advice, nor has it been written or reviewed by an attorney.