New Jersey has its own state law guaranteeing an employee a right to return to work if taking leave to care for a sick family member or a new child. While the rights and remedies are similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, there are some key differences.
As opposed to the eligibility requirement that an employee must work 1250 hours within a 12–month period, New Jersey’s requirement is only 1000 hours. New Jersey also broadens the definition of a family member to include in-laws. However, while an employee may take 12 weeks leave in a 12-month period, leave taken under the New Jersey law is limited to 12 weeks in a 24-month period.
The most significant difference between the New Jersey law and the FMLA is that New Jersey does not provide leave for the employee’s own serious health condition. While at first blush, this appears to provide less coverage to the employee, it actually provides more.
The FMLA provides that it runs concurrently with any similar state law. This means that when an employee requests FMLA leave he or she cannot take 12 weeks of leave under the federal law and then another 12 weeks under the state law. Thus, in a state that provides the same rights as the FMLA, an employee has only 12 weeks of leave in any 12 month period. Because New Jersey does not cover leave for the employee’s own serious health condition, an employee can take FMLA leave for his or her own medical condition without implicating the New Jersey law.
The employee will therefore still have 12 weeks of leave available under the New Jersey law to care for a new child or sick family member. This has been particularly useful to pregnant employees, as they can take up to 12 weeks of leave if there are complications with their pregnancy and still have available 12 weeks of leave to care for the child after she gives birth.
For more information about the differences between New Jersey's family medical leave law and the provisions put in place by the federal government, please call (973) 695-7777 or contact Green Savits, LLC online today.