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Changes Coming to the New Jersey Family Leave Insurance Program & Family Leave Act in 2019/2020

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides protection for employees to take unpaid leave for family and medical reasons. Although this is the norm for many businesses, states often have their own leave regulations. New Jersey, for instance, has its own similar leave laws called the New Jersey Family Leave Act. The state of New Jersey Department of Children & Families’ purpose of this policy is to promote economic security. This act lets employees to take up to 12 weeks of family leave in a 24-month period without losing their jobs. Additionally, New Jersey provides cash benefits through the Family Leave Insurance Program.

There are some changes ahead in regards to New Jersey Law. The New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, signed a new bill into law on Feb 19, 2019. This law modifies the New Jersey Family Leave Act (FLA) and the New Jersey Paid Family Leave Insurance Program (FLI). To ensure that you understand the new changes, check with New Jersey’s  department of labor. All of the information provided below is a guide for you to use, but is not intended to be legal advice.

New Jersey Family Leave Act Changes

  1. On June 30, 2019, employers with 30 or more employees will be subject to the FLA. They will need to provide all eligible employees with 12 weeks of protected family leave. The law used to only apply to employers who had 50 or more employees.
  2. The FLA expanded the definition of who a family member is. A “family member” includes siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, parents-in-law, any blood relative, and “any individual that the employee shows to have a close association with the employee which is the equivalent of a family relationship.”
  3. Family leave now applies to employees in connection with a child in foster care. This used to only apply upon the birth or adoption of a child.
  4. They reduced the employee intermittent leave request notice requirement from 30 days to 15 days. This only applies for an employee who needs to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

Family Leave Insurance Program (FLI) Changes

  1. On July 1, 2020, the number of paid leave days will double from 6 to 12. The new law will increase the paid family leave insurance program to 12 weeks and increases intermittent from 42 days to 56 days.
  2. Leave can be used for any situation under the New Jersey SAFE Act.
  3. Employers can no longer require employees to use up to two weeks of paid time off instead of FLI benefits (but still allows employees to use PTO in instead of NJFLI benefits). Additionally, when an employee elects to use PTO benefits, this will no longer reduce the amount of FLI benefits available to that employee.
  4. Employers are prohibited from discharging, harassing, discriminating or retaliating against an employee for using or requesting FLI benefits.
  5. The law eliminates the 7-day waiting period for FLI benefits.

No matter what your leave requirements are, you’ll want a time tracking system that will track both paid time off and unpaid time off correctly. Online time tracking services, like Timesheets.com, can help you keep track of employee paid and unpaid time off easily. Whether your employees are leaving for a few days or weeks, we have you covered.

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