As employees, it can be very important to be aware of your rights and some of the more basic laws granting such laws. The problem can be, however, that such laws may provide critical and fundamental rights, but they can be awfully complex and convoluted. How are employees supposed to untangle the web of employment laws to understand their rights? Dedicated employment law counsel can be the answer. In the meantime, let us review one important law that grants employees in New Jersey many important rights, the New Jersey Family Medical Leave Act.
What Is the New Jersey Family Medical Leave Act?
New Jersey employers, like those in all other states, are required to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) federal law. FMLA provides eligible employees to take unpaid leave for qualifying reasons. Upon the employee’s return, after the FMLA leave is over, he or she has the right to be reinstated in the original employment position held prior to taking leave.
New Jersey also has its own version of FMLA which is the New Jersey Family Medical Leave Act. This Act grants eligible employees the ability to take up to 12 weeks of family leave time within a 24 month period without risking job loss. Only certain employers are required to comply with the New Jersey Family Medical Leave Act, although the categories of employers who must comply with the act include many New Jersey employers. Employers must provide leave under the New Jersey Family Medical Leave Act if:
- The employer has at least 30 employees or is a government entity of any size,
- The employee has worked for the employer for a minimum of one year and has worked a minimum of 1,000 hours during the previous 12 months, and
- The employee is seeking a leave of absence in order to care for or bond with a child within 1 year of the child’s birth, placement for adoption, or placement in foster care, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
In order to qualify to take leave under the New Jersey Family Medical Leave Act, the employee must provide the employer with proper notice. The required notice will vary depending on the reason the employee is taking leave. For instance:
- For intermittent leave, a minimum of 15 days of notice is required.
- For consecutive leave being taken to care for a newborn or a recently adopted child or a child placed in foster care, then at least 30 days of notice is required.
- For consecutive leave being taken to care for a family member with a serious health condition, then the employee must provide notice in a manner that is both reasonable and practicable.
- If emergency leave is necessary, the employee should give as much notice as possible to the employer.
In addition to notice, the employee may also be required to provide supporting documentation to validate the reason for taking leave. This means that an employer may require the employee to furnish a certification from a doctor or other health care provider concerning the serious health condition of a family member. Alternatively, it may mean a health care provider certifying the date of birth of a newborn or a child’s adoption date or date of placement in foster care.
Employment Law Attorneys
Do you have questions about your rights under FMLA or New Jersey Family Medical Leave Act? Talk to the knowledgeable employment law team at Castronovo & McKinney. Contact us today.