Under the New Jersey Family Leave Act (FLA), a qualified employee that is pregnant or has given birth may request leave to recover and care for her child. Leave granted under the FLA ensures work protection, work accommodation, and continued health coverage from the employer while the employee is on leave.
If the employee qualifies for family leave, then the employee should not hesitate to submit a request for family leave.
Which Employees and Employers Are Qualified?
An employer must have at least 50 employees, in or outside of New Jersey, that have worked for at least 20 weeks. An employee must have worked for at least one year and have 1,000 hours before leave begins.
What Are My Benefits Under Maternity Leave?
A qualified employee may receive up to 12 weeks of continuous leave every 2 years under the FLA. Intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule is possible under the FLA, but the employee must ask the employer for approval. In addition, a qualified employee in New Jersey may also receive employee disability insurance.
The employer is not allowed to end any health coverage that the employee was under while working. The employer is also not allowed to fire the employee during the employee’s leave. An employer may lay off employees during financial hardship, but the returning employee will have a comparable position or have priority for another position.
How Do I Apply For Maternity Leave?
To apply for leave, the employee must submit a request to their employer at least 30 days before leave begins. If it is not possible to give a 30-day-notice, then the employee must give notice as soon as possible.
An employer may ask for medical verification of the condition, but they cannot force the employee to produce it. Instead, the employer must pay for the verification.
How Do I Get Paid Under the FLA?
Those employed in New Jersey can apply for a state or private Family Leave Insurance Plan (FLI). However, employees must have earned at least $145 a week for 20 weeks or earned more than $7,300 in the previous year to qualify.
How Do I Know If My Rights Were Violated?
If your employer refuses to do any of the following, then your rights have been violated:
- Grant maternity leave without threatening your job security.
- Pay for medical verification when the employer specifically requested it.
- Continue your pre-existing health coverage during your leave.
- Reinstate your position after your leave has ended.
Do Homosexuals Benefit from the Family Leave Act?
The New Jersey Family Leave Act applies in situations of adoption.
The state of New Jersey now recognizes same-sex marriage. The FLA now applies to homosexual couples as well as heterosexual couples. Homosexual couples may also take family leave to bond with adopted or fostered child under the age of 18.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Yes. If you believe your employer has violated your rights, then you should speak to an New Jersey employment attorney.