The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) is one of the strongest family leave laws in the country. Whether you need time off from work to care for a family member with a serious health condition, bond with your newborn, or another qualifying reason, you may be eligible for protected leave under the NJFLA. If you believe you have been wrongfully denied family leave, Castronovo & McKinney, LLC can help.
Our practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of employees throughout New Jersey. We have comprehensive knowledge of the NJFLA and work to hold employers that violate the law accountable. When you meet with us, you will work directly with an experienced family leave act attorney who will explain all your rights and explore the legal remedies available to you. Contact our office today for a consultation.
Know Your Rights Under The New Jersey Family Leave Act
Under the law, employees with at least 50 employees anywhere worldwide are required to provide up to 12 weeks of leave in a 24-month period. Employers also must continue providing employment benefits – health insurance, pension, sick days, vacation time – during an employee’s protected leave, and return the employee to the same or equivalent position that they had prior to their leave.
Employees are eligible for leave under the New Jersey Family Leave Act if they:
- Have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months
- Work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles
An employee who requests leave must provide their employer with advanced or reasonable notice of their requests for leave:
- 30 days’ notice for leave in connection with the birth or adoption of a child
- 15 days’ notice for the leave to care for the immediate family member
There is an exception to these advance notice requirements in emergency situations, in which case an employee need only provide reasonable notice to the employer. An employer is permitted to require the employee to provide certification from a medical provider to support the request for leave. Finally, an employer is prohibited from interfering with or retaliating against an employee for exercising their rights under the NJFLA and can be held liable for violating the law.
Qualifying Reasons For Family Leave
The New Jersey Family Leave Act allows employees to take family leave to care for:
- A newborn, adopted, or foster child, provided that the leave begins within 1 year of the date the child is born or placed with the employee.
- A family member who has a serious health condition or is in need of continuing medical treatment or medical supervision. Family members include a child, spouse, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, any individual related by blood to the employee, or any other individual with whom the employee has a close association that is the equivalent of a family relationship.
- A family member in the event of a declared state of emergency because of an epidemic of a communicable disease, known or suspected exposure to the communicable disease, or to prevent the spread of a communicable disease. This includes caring for a family member who has been required to self-quarantine or a child because of a school closure.
Notably, unlike the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the NJFLA does not allow an employee to take leave for their own medical care.
Common Violations of the New Jersey Family Leave Act
Employers can violate the NJFLA in several ways. One common violation occurs when a male employee is denied the right to family leave to bond with a newborn. Employers also violate the law by retaliating against women for taking family leave by demoting or reassigning them upon their return to work.
Another common violation occurs when employers use a protected absence as a negative factor in a performance review. Employers can also confuse their obligations under the FMLA. In particular, employees who take leave under the FMLA are permitted to exhaust that leave before taking protected leave under the NJFLA. Employers who run the leaves concurrently are in violation of the New Jersey Family Leave Act. In any event, it takes an experienced New Jersey family leave attorney to protect your rights.
How Castronovo & McKinney Can Help
We have the skills and experience to take the appropriate legal action and hold your employer accountable. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover compensatory damages such as lost wages and benefits, as well as emotional distress damage. Lost wages are recoverable in cases where an employee has been terminated by their employer for taking protected leave.
In addition, you may be entitled to punitive damages, which are intended to punish your employer’s illegal conduct and deter other businesses from similar wrongdoing. Finally, you may also be awarded attorneys’ fees and court costs, which means that you will not have any out-of-pocket legal expenses.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Family Leave Act Attorney
If you have been denied your right to protected leave under the NJFLA, turn to Castronovo & McKinney, LLC. Once you become our client, you will have comfort knowing that our experienced family leave attorney is on your side. Contact us today to learn how we can help.