More New Jersey employees are set to become eligible for paid family leave on Sunday (June 30).
In February 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed an amendment into law that will increase entitlements under the state’s paid family leave and temporary disability statute. The change will eventually expand employees’ time off, provide higher wage reimbursements, cover more family members, and expand job protections for taking leave.
On Sunday, more employees will be eligible for the family leave insurance (FLI) part of the law. The new law provides job-protected entitlements to employees who work for a business with 30 or more employees, reduced from the old threshold of 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the then-current or immediately preceding calendar year.
Starting on Monday (July 1), the part of the law pertaining to temporary disability insurance (TDI) changes. Under the old law, employees had to endure an unpaid “waiting period” between their last day of work and first day of entitlement to family TDI. The new amendments eliminate the waiting period so that benefits will be payable on the first day of leave, but family TDI will not be paid simultaneously with any paid sick leave, vacation time, or other leave provided at full pay from the employer.
Also, the new law no longer allows employers to require employees to use all their paid leave, up to 2 weeks, before the payment of benefits. However, employers may give employees the option to use other employer-provided paid time off before they use disability benefits.
Employees will bear the burden for the entire cost of the expansion through increases in their FLI and TDI wage tax assessments. More components of the law won’t take effect until July 2020.
For more information on New Jersey’s family leave entitlements, see the April 2019 issue of New Jersey Employment Law Letter.