New Jersey Paid Family Leave Bill

By Thomas McKinney

Steve Sweeney, Senate President (D-Gloucester) is co-sponsoring this bill calling it ‘a lifeline for working families.” The bill, S-2528, has been advanced by the Senate Labor Committee by a margin of 3-1 in favor. a similar bill was vetoed by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and has now expected to go before newly appointed governor Phil Murphy who is expected to view it more favorably.

The bill would expand family leave to provide more time to care for newborns or other family members. The current law provides employees with six weeks off at a rate of up to two thirds they pay to a maximum of $633/week. Employees who work at a company with at least 50 workers are eligible for this benefit.

What The New Bill Proposes

The proposed bill would significantly bolster these benefits doubling the time available to them to 12 weeks and increase the amount of compensation during this time to 90% of their pay (to a maximum of $1,195/week). It would expand coverage to employees working at a company with 30 or greater employees.

If the bill passes it would provide the most significant benefits of any state in the nation.

Job Protection

The bill also provides protections for all works taking paid leave. Currently, unpaid leave is not protected by state of federal laws and is often avoided due to the prospect of losing their jobs due to taking leave. This bill would cover thousands of workers who work for small businesses in New Jersey.

Opponent of The Bill

While businesses would pay no taxes to fund the family leave many argue that additional costs will still be incurred due to overtime to existing employees or hiring temp workers to fill the gaps left by those on leave.

It also further complicates running a small business with already working to comply with a newly passes equal pay law that recently went into effect.

The Goal of The Paid Family Leave Bill

By closing gaps in coverage the Paid Family Leave Bill will allow employees to better care for loves ones whether it be a birth of a new child or caring or sick or elderly loved ones. It expands coverage to situations that involve other family members or siblings that need to be taken care of.

The bill would also allocate $1.2 mil for the Insurance Fund to promote awareness of the program boosting participation.

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.