Seyfarth Synopsis: Recently, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development released an updated poster concerning Family Leave Insurance in light of recent amendments to the law.  In addition, the Department also released updated guidance, including clarifying the effective dates of various amendments. 

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development ("DLWD") released an updated notice to employees in response to recent amendments to the Family Leave Insurance ("FLI") Law.  The notice must be conspicuously posted in the employer's workplace in a place that is accessible to all employees.  In addition, the employer is required to provide each employee a written copy of the notification no later than 30 days after it was issued by the DLWD (however, the DLWD website does not indicate the precise date the notice was issued), at the time of hire, whenever the employee notifies the employer of the need for FLI benefits, and upon an employee's first request for benefits.

Governor Phil Murphy signed the amendments into law on February 19, 2019. The updated guidance clarifies that many of the amended provisions became effective immediately, which previously was unclear.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • The law's expanded definition of family member,[1] broadened reasons for use,[2] and elimination of the waiting period for FLI benefits became effective on February 19, 2019.    
  • Also as of February 19, the guidance indicates that employer paid time off does not run concurrently with an employee's FLI benefit allotment, and as a result, employees' FLI benefits are not liquidated through the use of employer paid leave.  However, an employee may not "double dip" and receive FLI benefits at the same time as receiving full pay from their employer.
  • Employees could begin receiving FLI benefits for bonding purposes in one day increments, revised from the previous standard of one consecutive six-week period or separate week-long increments.

In addition, and as previously reported, beginning July 1, 2020, employees will be entitled to 12 weeks of continuous or 56 days of intermittent FLI benefits in a 12-month period.  The FLI reasons for use include bonding within 12 months of the child's birth or placement with adoptive or foster parents, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or to care for a victim of domestic violence or a sexually violent offense. 

As a reminder, effective June 30, 2019, employers with 30 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or immediately preceding calendar year are considered covered employers under the New Jersey Family Leave Act ("NJFLA"), which provides job protection for employees who take leave under the NJFLA.  Further, beginning January 1, 2020, employee contributions under the FLI Law will increase,[3] and as of July 1, 2020, employees will see an increased maximum FLI benefit and weekly benefit rate, in addition to the increased amount of leave. 

As the FLI law's provisions become effective, Seyfarth is continually tracking the latest changes.  Seyfarth is also closely following developments in Massachusetts and elsewhere as paid family leave expands across the country.

[1] The definition of "family member" was further expanded to include a child of any age, foster child or child born via gestational carrier, parent or parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, spouse, domestic partner, or partner in a civil union, and any other person related by blood to the employee or with whom the employee has a close association that is equivalent to a family relationship.

[2] The most notable new reasons for use include claiming FLI benefits to bond with a newly placed foster child, and time off from work to attend to matters related to an occurrence of domestic or sexual violence.

[3] As a reminder, FLI benefits are employee-paid and there is no required employer contribution.

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