Maternity Leave in NJ

Maternity leave in NJ provides women and men with job protection and a partial paid leave. The maternity leave law requires employers to allow an employee up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off. The 12-week period is allowed every 24 months. While on leave, the employee's job is protected.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Maternity Leave in NJ?

An employee requesting to use the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) is eligible if he or she has been employed by the company for a least 12 months. During that time, the employee must have worked a minimum of 1,000 hours. Eligibility for NJFLA is available with companies or private employers who have 50 or more employees on staff globally.

Benefits paid to employees are determined by their income. If an employee earns one of the highest salaries at the company, the employer may deny NJFLA.

In New Jersey, female employees are guaranteed a partially paid maternity leave. This guarantee falls under the Family Leave Insurance Program that is part of the New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law. Fathers are also covered with paternity leave, which they can use as a caregiver or to spend time with the newborn. Parents who choose to use their leave time in small increments may do so, and the employer must allow it.

Employees working for the state are covered by both the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the NJ State Family Leave Act (NJFLA). Both men and women are eligible under the two laws. FMLA leave time runs concurrently with NJFLA and is unpaid.

What Is the Family Medical Leave Act?

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides employees with a 12-week leave and only applies when 50 or more employees work for an employer.

To be eligible for FMLA, an employee must have accrued at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12-month period. Employees may use their FMLA time intermittently if the leave is deemed medically necessary.

For married couples working for the same employer and requesting FMLA, the total leave can be limited to 12 weeks for each parent. If either of the employees does not use all the allotted 12-week leave, the remainder is still available for an employee to use for their own health issues.

What Is the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination?

Amended in 2014, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination is applicable to all public and private employers. The law prohibits an employer from discriminating against women who are pregnant, have undergone childbirth, or experienced other related conditions.

Employers must treat pregnant women the same as women who are not pregnant. The law also requires employers to provide reasonable assistance and accommodations. This may include offering additional bathroom breaks or help with a job that involves manual labor.

What Is Unemployment Compensation for Maternity Leave?

In New Jersey, the maternity leave laws do not allow employees to collect unemployment benefits while on leave.

Does Health Insurance Continue While on Maternity Leave?

While an employee is on leave, the employer is required to keep the employee's health benefits current as though they were actively doing their job in the workplace. This is applicable as long as the employee meets the eligibility and criteria requirements of the New Jersey Family Leave Act and the Family Medical Leave Act.

What Is Family Leave Insurance?

In New Jersey, most employees are eligible for Family Leave Insurance (FLI). The insurance provides partial pay for up to six weeks for the employee to be at home with the newborn or a newly adopted child.

Family Leave Insurance is funded by New Jersey employees who make over a certain amount from their employer. Each paycheck for all New Jersey employees has a small deduction withheld. The funds withheld are used to pay for Family Insurance Benefits.

Employees also may opt to apply for a short-term disability policy from an insurance company. This would be separate from FLI or other funding. In some cases, an insurance company may pay out up to 60 percent of an employee's income for six to eight weeks.

Application forms for New Jersey State maternity leave are available on the Department of Labor website.

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