New Jersey employees are able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they are eligible under both state and federal law. The federal Family Medical Leave Act and the New Jersey Family Leave Act are similar, but it is important that you understand how these laws differ. The employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler are able to help you to understand your rights under these laws.
The federal FMLA covers private employers that have 50 or more employees who have worked 20 or more weeks during the current or prior calendar year. It also covers all employers that are in the public sector. Employees who are eligible to take FMLA leave are those who have worked for the covered employer for 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months. They must also work for a covered employer. Leave is warranted in the following situations:
- To care for your own serious medical condition
- To care for your immediate family member’s serious medical condition
- The birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child
- Exigency due to a family member’s active duty status in the military
Employees who qualify are able to take up to 12 weeks of leave in a calendar year. The leave is unpaid and may be taken intermittently, consecutively or as reduced leave. If you take FMLA leave, your employer must maintain your health insurance benefits and reinstate you to your job or a comparable position when your leave ends.
If you need to take leave to care for a military service member’s serious illness or injury, you can take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave. This includes your spouse, child or parent. Short-notice deployments may also allow you to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
The New Jersey Family Leave Act
The New Jersey Family Leave Act covers employers in New Jersey that have 50 or more employees who worked 20 or more weeks during the current year or during the prior year. Eligible employees must have worked for their covered employer for 12 months and have worked a minimum of 1,000 hours. Leave will be granted for the following scenarios:
- To care for your immediate family member’s serious health condition
- To care for a parent-in-law’s serious health condition
- leave for the birth, foster care placement or adoption of a child
The NJFLA does not offer military leave or leave to care for your own medical condition. If you qualify for leave under the NJFLA, you may be entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 24-month period. The NJFLA also allows you to take reduced leave, intermittent leave or consecutive leave. During your leave, your employer must maintain your coverage under its group health insurance benefits. You will also be entitled to be reinstated to your job when your leave is over or to a comparable position.
If you take leave, it may be counted concurrently if it is covered by both the NJFLA and the FMLA. To learn more about your rights to leave under the NJFLA or the FMLA, contact Swartz Swidler today.