New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA)

Posted on Jun 18, 2019 by Console Mattiacci Law, LLC
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The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (or “FMLA”) is a law which requires certain employers to provide employees with job-protected unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons.

In New Jersey, employees also have family leave rights under the state New Jersey Family Leave Act (or “NJFLA”) if they meet certain criteria.

If you are a New Jersey employee who has been denied the right to leave under the NJFLA or lost your job after requesting family leave, you should speak with a workers’ rights lawyer right away. This article contains general information about the NJFLA but is not legal advice or a substitute for getting legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer in New Jersey.

What Is the Difference Between FMLA and NJFLA?

The federal FMLA and the state NJFLA differ in some important ways. Depending on the type of company you work for and how long you have worked for your employer, you may be eligible under either the federal FMLA or the state NJFLA (or both).

Family Leave Under the Federal FMLA

The federal FMLA applies to all public sector employers and any employer that have 50 or more employees who have worked 20 or more weeks during the calendar year. Employees of these covered entities are eligible to take FMLA if they have worked for their employer for 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during that time.

Under the FMLA, an eligible employee can take leave:

  • To give birth to and care for a newborn child;
  • To care for an adopted child or child placed through foster care;
  • To care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition;
  • To take time to recover from his or her own serious health condition; or
  • To take time away from work due to a family member’s active duty status in the military.

In most cases, employees who qualify for FMLA leave may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a year. The leave may be taken all at once or intermittently.

During leave, your employer must maintain your health insurance benefits and you must be reinstated to your existing job or a comparable position after your leave ends. Special rules apply to family leave taken due to a military exigency or a serious medical condition resulting from active duty service.

Family Leave Under the NJFMLA

The NJFLA applies to employers in New Jersey that have 50 or more employees (including out-of-state employees) who worked 20 or more weeks during the current or prior year.

Similar to the FMLA, employees are eligible for NJFLA leave only if they have worked for a covered employer for 12 months. However, employees only need to have worked 1,000 hours during that time period for leave rights under the NJFLA to apply (the FMLA requires 1,250 hours of work).

Under the NJFLA, eligible employees can take leave:

  • To give birth to and care for a newborn child;
  • To care for an adopted child or child placed through foster care; or
  • To care for a spouse, child, parent, or parent-in-law with a serious health condition.

Unlike the federal FMLA, the NJFLA does not allow for leave to care for one’s own serious medical condition or health emergency. There are also no rights to leave related to a family member’s military service. Finally, while the FMLA provides for 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period, the NJFLA only allows for 12 weeks of leave in a 24-month period.

What If My Employer Denies My NJFLA Request?

If you have requested family leave under the state NJFLA and/or federal FMLA and your employer denied your request, you should talk to an experienced New Jersey family leave lawyer right away. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to a court order requiring that your employer grant you leave, reinstate your job, or pay you money damages.

The employment lawyers at Console Mattiacci help New Jersey employees who have been had their rights under the NJFLA violated and recently secured a six-figure verdict in a NJFLA and pregnancy discrimination case for a New Jersey client. To speak to a workers’ rights lawyer at Console Mattiacci, call (215) 545-7676.

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