Currently New Jersey is one of only five states that provide employees the opportunity to receive time off from work to resolve family and health related issues, with some form of compensation,. In 2008, former Governor Jon Corzine signed the New Jersey Paid Family Leave Act, (“NJPFLA”), or N.J.S.A. § 43:21-25, et seq., which provides that employees may take up to six weeks of paid family leave. Compensation is currently limited to two-thirds of weekly pay or a maximum of six hundred and fifteen dollars ($615), whichever is greater. Funding for NJPFLA is provided for by deductions from employee paychecks. Other relevant “Leave” Acts include the New Jersey Family Leave Act, (“NJ FLA”), and the Federal Family Medical Leave Act, (“FMLA”), which require employers with fifty (50) or greater employees to provide up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid job-protected leave.
In response to rapid adoption of more robust paid family leave models, such as New York State’s twelve (12) week paid family leave program, New Jersey State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer has begun drafting new legislation to expand NJPFLA. Assemblyman Gusciora seeks to expand NJFLA by adopting New York’s twelve (12) weeks of paid family leave, while continuing to enable NJFMLA to reach employees working for companies with any number of employees, and possibly to provide protection and job security to those out on this type of leave. Despite support from a number of groups including: AARP, AFL-CIO, Citizen Alliance, New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Main Street Alliance and the Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Assemblyman Gusciora understands such changes to NJPFLA will not likely have the support of current Governor Chris Christie. As such, Assemblyman Gusciora stated that the plans to take the draft legislation any further may have to wait until after the results of New Jersey’s 2017 Gubernatorial Election which could result in a more agreeable political environment.
With the current 2017 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election beginning to heat up, it is better for companies to plan ahead in the event the political landscape becomes more amenable to Assemblyman Gusciora’s draft legislation. At Einhorn Harris we provide excellent services to closely held and family owned businesses on a variety of business and employment law issues. Please contact Andrew S. Berns, Esq. or Timothy J. Ford, Esq. at Einhorn Harris for assistance or questions regarding the New Jersey Paid Family Leave Act or any other employment law issues.