The information below
provides an overview of how the the federal Family and Medical
Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA)
programs affect New Jersey employers and employees.
The federal FMLA and the State NJFLA
offer covered employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected
leave for certain family and medical related reasons. While both
laws provide substantially equivalent coverage, there are some
differences that have been taken into consideration on this page.
For more detailed information, connect to the federal Department
of Labor's Web site at: http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.htm
or the State of New Jersey NJFLA Web site at:
Employees are eligible
if they have worked for a covered employer, with at least 50 employees,
for at least one year and for at least 1,000 hours over the previous
- A company with at least 50 employees
for 20 or more weeks either this or last year; or
- A governmental agency; or
- A school.
Reasons for Taking
Unpaid leave must be
granted for any of the following reasons:
- to care for the employee's child
after birth, or placement with the employee of a son or daughter
for adoption or foster care;
- to care for the employee's spouse*,
son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition,
- for a serious health condition
that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job.
*Because civil unions are recognized in the State of New Jersey, the New Jersey Family Medical Leave Act will apply; that is, unpaid leave must also be granted to allow an employee to care for his/her civil union partner or eligible same-sex domestic partner who has a serious health condition.
NJFLA defines a "serious health
condition" as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical
or mental condition which requires:
1) inpatient care in a hospital,
hospice, or residential medical care facility; or
2) continuing medical treatment
or continuing supervision by a health care provider.
FMLA regulations similarly define
what constitutes a "serious
At the employee's or
employer's option, certain kinds of paid leave may be substituted
for unpaid leave.
Note: The FMLA
provides time off from work due to an employee's disability, while
the NJFLA does not. Therefore, it may be possible to use FMLA
covered time for disability without reducing NJFLA time in connection
with the birth or adoption of a child or the serious illness of
a parent, child or spouse.
Advance Notice and
The employee may be required to provide
advance leave notice and medical certification. Taking of leave
may be denied if requirements are not met. As a rule, the employee
should give the employer enough information to allow him or her
to understand that the leave is for an FMLA-qualifying reason.
- The employee ordinarily must provide
30 days advance notice when the leave is "foreseeable."
- An employer may require medical
certification to support a request for leave because of a serious
health condition, and may require second or third opinions (at
the employer's expense) and a fitness for duty report to return
Additional Requirements To Keep In Mind
- The employee may choose, or the
employer may require the employee, to use certain kinds of paid
leave (such as accrued sick or vacation leave) during a NJFLA
- The employee may take NJFLA leave
intermittently or work a reduced workweek when medically necessary
for the employee's or family member's serious
health condition. The leave may be taken as needed, such
as a day at a time, or a week, or even a few hours;
- The employer may not require the
employee to see his or her health care provider for each FMLA
absence for chronic serious
health conditions or pregnancy.
Benefits and Protection
- For the duration of NJFLA leave,
the employer must maintain the employee's health coverage under
any "group health plan," under the same terms as if
the employee continued to work.
- If the employee pays a share of
medical premiums for health coverage, the employer and employee
must decide how to accomplish this.
- Upon return from NJFLA leave,
most employees must be restored to their original or equivalent
positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment
- The use of NJFLA leave cannot
result in a loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior
to the start of an employee's leave.
Unlawful Acts by
FMLA makes it unlawful
for any employer to:
- interfere with, restrain, or deny
the exercise of any right provided under the NJFLA;
- discharge or discriminate against
any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by the NJFLA
or for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to the
- The US Department of Labor is
authorized to investigate and resolve complaints of violations.
- The NJ Division on Civil Rights
is also authorized to investigate and resolve complaints of
- An eligible employee may bring
a civil action against an employer for violations.
FMLA does not affect any federal
or State law prohibiting discrimination, or supersede any State
or local law or collective bargaining agreement which provides
greater family or medical leave rights.
To Read the Laws
For more information on the Family and Medical Leave Act, visit the Department of Labor's website at: http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.htm
The New Jersey Family Leave Act is
outlined in the State statutes, New
Jersey Statutes Annotated (NJSA) Title 34:11B-1 to 16.
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