Man reviewing employment law case

What is the Difference Between NJFLA and FMLA?

As a New Jersey employee, it is essential to be aware of your rights. That being said, understanding the scope of your rights can be complicated, to say the least. There are varying laws at both the federal and state level that can impact your rights as an employee. It can be difficult to know what laws apply to your situation and what protections they provide. This is especially true when there are similar laws at the federal law and state law with slight variances. Take the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the state-level New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA). While these two laws provide similar protections to employees, there are also key differences that should be noted.

What is the Difference Between NJFLA and FMLA?

The FMLA requires covered employers to provide employees with job-protected leave when there is a qualifying medical or family reason. Similarly, the NJFLA provides leave rights to employees when certain criteria is met. For New Jersey employees, some will have rights under the federal FMLA, the state NJFLA, or both.

FMLA applies to all employers in the public sector as well as any employer with 50 or more employees who have worked 20 or more weeks during the calendar year. Employees of covered employers may take FMLA leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months and put in at least 1,250 hours of working during that 12 month time frame. If they have, then the eligible employee may take job-protected leave to:

  • Give birth and care for a newborn child
  • Care for an adopted child or one placed through the foster care system
  • Care for a spouse, child, or parent that has a serious health condition
  • Recover from a serious health condition
  • Take time from work because of a family member’s military active duty status

Qualifying employees, in most cases, may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave which can be taken all at once or intermittently. Job-protected leave means that, upon your return to work, you have the right to be reinstated in your existing job or placed in a comparable position. Furthermore, your employer must maintain your health insurance benefits while you are on leave.

The NJFLA, on the other hand, applies to New Jersey employers with 50 or more employees who have worked 20 or more weeks during the current year or prior year. Out of state employees are included in the employee count. Like the FMLA, employees are eligible for NJFLA leave if they have worked for at least 12 months for the covered employer. In contrast with the FMLA, however, employees do not need to work 1,250 hours during that 12-month period, but only 1,000 to qualify for NJFLA leave. While the FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of leave within a 12-month time frame, the NJFLA provides up to 12 weeks of leave within a 24-month time frame. Eligible employees of covered employers can take NJFLA leave to:

  • Give birth and care for a newborn child
  • Care for an adopted child or one placed through foster care
  • Care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition

Employment Law Attorneys

If you are unclear about your leave rights under either the FMLA or the NJFLA, talk to the employment law team at Castronovo & McKinney. If you have been denied leave rights to which you are entitled, we can help you pursue the available legal remedies. Contact us today.

Thomas A. McKinney, Esq.

Thomas A. McKinney, Esq. is an experienced New Jersey 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. If you have questions about this article, contact Thomas today by clicking here.