If you need to take time off from work to care for a seriously ill family member or for an injury you suffered that wasn’t related to your job, you might be eligible to take paid leave in New Jersey. New Jersey offers two programs to workers through which they can take paid leave, including paid family leave and temporary disability insurance. If you work at a second job, you might wonder whether you can continue working there while you take paid leave from your first job. Here’s what you need to know about both of these programs and your rights from the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler.
Understanding Paid Leave in New Jersey
Paid leave in New Jersey is made up of New Jersey’s family leave insurance (FLI) and temporary disability insurance (TDI). You can use FLI to take time off from work to bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or new foster care child, to deal with problems related to sexual or domestic violence, or to care for a seriously ill family member.
You can use TDI to care for your own injury, disability, or illness, including time to recover after giving birth or to deal with pregnancy complications. Both types of insurance pay 85% of your average weekly wage up to $993. This amount is adjusted each year. You contribute to both FLI and TDI through deductions from your paychecks.
You must meet the minimum requirements for how long you have worked and how much you earn to qualify for these programs, including having worked for your employer for a minimum of 20 weeks for a minimum of $240 per week. Alternatively, you must have earned at least $12,000 from your employer during the 18 months before your requested leave.
Here’s some more information about both of these programs.
Family Leave Insurance in New Jersey
Employees in New Jersey who meet the minimum earnings and work requirements can take up to 12 weeks off from work as a continuous period in 12 months or 56 days intermittently. Most people who use FLI do so to bond with a new child during the child’s first year with the family. Both the mother and the father are eligible to take FLI leave for bonding purposes.
People can also use FLI leave to take time off from work to care for their relatives and other loved ones who are suffering from serious health conditions. If you want to take FLI leave to care for someone who is seriously ill, you will need to get a doctor to certify that your loved one has a serious condition when you apply for benefits.
FLI leave is also available to employees who are dealing with problems related to sexual or domestic violence they have suffered or that their loved ones have suffered. To take FLI leave for this purpose, you won’t be required to get a medical provider’s certification. However, you might be asked to provide some type of evidence of your reason for taking leave. If you do, your employer will be required to keep the information confidential.
When you take FLI leave, you can choose whether or not you will use up your accrued paid time off before your FLI benefits. In the past, employers were allowed to require employees to use two weeks of paid time off before they could use FLI, but that was changed.
Can You Collect FLI Benefits While Working at a Second Job?
Many workers have second jobs to make financial ends meet. Under the FLI program, you are allowed to take paid FLI leave from one job while continuing to work at your second job.
Temporary Disability Insurance in New Jersey
If you suffered an injury or disability that wasn’t related to your job and meet the other minimum work and earning requirements, you can take TDI leave for up to 26 weeks in 12 months. Employees can take TDI leave when they are unable to return to work because of mental health or physical health conditions, including pregnancy and recovery following childbirth. Some employers offer TDI privately while others offer the state program. You can find out from your employer what it provides. Both private and state programs must give you paid TDI leave for the time your doctor certifies that you are unable to return to work.
If you want to use it for pregnancy, the standard period of leave can start four weeks before your baby is due through up to six weeks following a vaginal delivery or eight weeks following a Caesarian section. The period can be extended if your doctor certifies you need more time either before giving birth or following it to recover.
Private TDI plans must offer at least what the state provides or better. If your benefits are denied, you can appeal to the state Department of Labor. Federal, county, and municipal employees are generally not eligible for TDI leave.
Other Important Information
When you take leave from work under New Jersey Family Leave Act, you have a right to be returned to your job once your leave is over. The law covers employers with at least 30 employees. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against workers for taking TDI or FLI leave.
Speak to Swartz Swidler
If you are out on paid leave and have gotten in trouble for working at a second job, you should speak to a lawyer at Swartz Swidler. Contact us for a free case evaluation at 856-685-7420.