Employers in all states, including New Jersey, must follow the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). States like New Jersey also have their own laws that allow employees to take time off for family and medical reasons. Though federal and state laws may appear similar, there are differences that an employment attorney can help you decipher.

How Do I Know If My Employer is Covered by the FMLA?

Employers are covered by family and medical leave laws if they meet the following criteria:

  • The private-sector business employs 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding year, including a joint employer or successor in interest to a covered employer
  • Public agency, either federal, state, or local, no matter how many employees it employs
  • Private or public elementary or secondary school, regardless of number of employees
  • Employers must cover domestic violence leave if they have at least 25 employees

What Type of Leave Am I Allowed Under New Jersey’s Laws?

Eligible New Jersey employees are allowed to take leave for the care of a newborn or adopted child, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Family members include parents-in-law and partners in a civil union. Employees are eligible to take this type of leave if they have worked for the employer for at least one year, and have worked 1,000 hours in the past 12 months.

New Jersey employees are also eligible for domestic violence leave if they, or a family member has been a victim of domestic violence or a sexually violent crime.

New Jersey has a temporary disability insurance program that will pay eligible employees who are temporarily disabled, including pregnancy, up to 2/3 of their wages. This program also funds New Jersey’s paid family leave law. Eligible employees who are caring for a newborn, adopted child, or ill family member may receive the same benefits as those who are temporarily disabled.

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For How Long Can I Leave My Job?

Similar to federal law provisions regarding FMLA, eligible employees are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of leave in any 24-month time frame. New Jersey also does not require spouses to share leave time.

For domestic violence leave, an employee can take up to 20 days of leave in a 12-month period. To be eligible for domestic violence leave, the employee must have worked at the business for at least one year, and for at least 1,000 hours in the last 12 months.

Will My Employer Require Medical Certification?

Under New Jersey law, you are not required to show your employer any medical certification pertaining to your fitness to return to work. You may however, be required to show certification if your leave was for the birth of a child, adoption of a child, or for the care of a seriously ill family member.

How Should I Request My Leave?

Similar to federal standards regarding FMLA, you must give your employer reasonable notice of your expected leave, in a practicable manner. When it is foreseeable, employees will generally request leave 30 days in advance of the time needed for leave. In an unforeseeable leave situation, the employee should notify the employer as son as possible.

Do I Need an Employment Lawyer?

If you need help with family and medical leave in New Jersey, an experienced employment attorney in New Jersey can advise you on your best course of action. If your employer has mistreated you or broken any employment laws, a lawyer will help you build your case and represent your best interests in the matter.