The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) are designed to protect your job if you need to take off to care for a family member. If you have questions about your medical leave or your employer is refusing to allow you to take leave, it is wise to consult with a knowledgeable FMLA attorney.
At Castronovo & McKinney, LLC, our employment law attorneys advise employees throughout New Jersey about their rights under the FMLA and NJFLA. We know that these programs are crucial for new parents who need maternity or paternity leave, for employees in need of medical treatment, or for those who must be absent from work for an extended period to care for a family member with serious medical issues.
Our attorneys are here to help you understand your rights and are fully prepared to take legal action to protect your interests. Contact our Morristown or Manhattan office today.
How The FMLA and NJFLA Protect Employees in New Jersey
Both the FMLA and NJFLA preserve employees’ job and health benefits while they are taking leave; however, these laws do not require employers to provide paid leave. The FMLA allows employees to take 12 workweeks of leave over a 12-month period while the NJFLA provides for up to 12 workweeks of leave over a 24-month period.
Under the FMLA, employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.
Employees are eligible for NJFLA leave if they have worked at least 12 months for their employer and have worked at least 1,000 base hours during the immediately preceding 12-month period. The NJFLA applies to employers with at least 50 employees worldwide.
Permitted Reasons for Family Medical Leave
Under the FMLA, employees are entitled to leave for:
- Birth and care of a newborn
- Bonding with a newly adopted child
- Care of a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition
- The employee’s serious health condition
- Handling circumstances surrounding a family member’s military service
The NJFLA allows employees to take leave for similar reasons, however, the state’s law does not allow employees to take leave to care for their own serious health conditions. Employees may be eligible to do so under the FMLA, however.
It is important to note that FMLA does not allow employees to take leave to care for in-laws, siblings, or grandparents while the NJFLA allows employees to take leave to care for a mother-in-law or father-in-law. Also, for an illness to qualify as a serious health condition under the FMLA or NJFLA, it must involve one of the following:
- Requires inpatient care by a health professional
- Results in incapacity for more than three days with treatment from a health professional
- Incapacity as a result of pregnancy or prenatal care
- Incapacity due to a chronic health condition
- Incapacity due to a long-term or terminal health condition
- Requires absence for more than three days for multiple treatments, which would result in further absence if left untreated
Finally, employers can require employees applying for medical leave under FMLA to provide medical certification of a serious medical condition, but they are not permitted to demand actual medical records. Also, it is unlawful for employers to retaliate against an employee who requests leave under the FMLA or NJFLA.
Were Your Benefits and/or Job Threatened by your Family Leave?
If you are involved in a dispute about your medical leave rights or feel you are being treated unfairly, our experienced family medical leave attorneys can help. You should know that your employer must keep your position open and continue your medical benefits during your leave.
If you took allowable family leave from your place of work, and your benefits or job were threatened, you may have a claim against your employer that could result in reinstatement, compensation, or both. We are well-versed in the FMLA and NJFLA and will choose the best course of action.
While many employment-related disputes can and should be settled, we are always ready to litigate to achieve the best possible outcome. Rest assured, your employment rights will be protected in and out of the courtroom.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey FMLA Attorneys
If your employer is refusing to allow you to take family medical leave, or you lost your job or benefits because you took family leave, we can help you recover just compensation. We have a proven track record of achieving successful outcomes in FMLA and NJFLA disputes and will make sure your rights are protected. Contact us today so we can start working on your case.
Castronovo & McKinney, LLC helps clients with their FMLA claims throughout New Jersey including Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County, and Morris County as well as the cities Hackensack, Newark, New Brunswick, and Morristown.