State paid family and medical leave laws are on the rise in the United States, with a total of nine states - including New Jersey - offering paid leave to their workforces for certain qualifying life or medical events.
What are state paid family and medical leave laws?
State paid family and medical leave laws provide for paid leave from work for eligible employees based on certain qualifying life events, such as the birth or adoption of a child, to care for oneself or a family member who is experiencing a serious medical condition, or to care for a family member injured while on active duty in the military, among others. Employees receive a weekly benefit which represents a portion of their regular compensation based upon a state created formula.
We've compiled a review of New Jersey's paid leave to ensure you're aware of key upcoming dates and the requirements to ensure your compliance.
What employers need to know
KEY DATES: *Effective January 1, 2020, the employee wage cap increased from $34,400.00 to $134,900.00. The employer wage cap for 2020 is $35,300.00. *Effective July 1, 2020: (1) Duration of paid family leave will increase from 6 weeks to 12 weeks; and (2) Weekly benefit amounts will increase from 66.67% to 85% of claimant’s average weekly wage, up to maximum weekly benefit of $881.00 per week.
Employee Eligibility Criteria:
Employees of all private and governmental employers subject to the NJ Unemployment Compensation Law are covered.
New Jersey employees who have worked 20 weeks earning at least $200.00 weekly or a combined total of $10,000.00 in the previous four quarters.
Federal government employees, out-of-state employees, and independent contractors are excluded.
Weekly Benefit Amount:
Benefit amounts are calculated on an employee’s average weekly wage (determined by dividing base year earnings by the number of base weeks [any week with earnings of $200.00 or more]).
Claimant is paid 85% of their average weekly wage up to a current maximum benefit amount of $881.00 per week.
Employee and/or Employer Contributions to the program:
Temporary Disability Insurance:
Employees and employers both contribute to cost of this program; employer contribution rate varies from 0.10%-0.75%. For 2020, the employer wage cap is $35,300.00 for the calendar year.
Employees contribute 0.26% of employee wages via payroll deduction up to wage cap, with a maximum annual deduction for 2020 of $350.74.
Family Leave Insurance:
100% employee funded through payroll deductions.
Employees contribute 0.16% of employee wages up to wage cap, with a maximum annual deduction for 2020 of $215.84.
Duration of Leave:
Up to 26 weeks in a single year.
Qualifying events making employees/participants eligible for leave:
12 weeks to bond with a newborn, newly adopted or newly placed foster child.
12 weeks to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
Up to 26 weeks to care for employee’s own non-work-related injury, illness or other disability including pregnancy.
Leave can be exercised intermittently, but at a reduced rate with a maximum possible intermittent family leave duration of 56 days effective July 1, 2020.
Notice Requirement: employers must post leave information in visible place in workplace and provide employees with leave regulations at the time of hire, when the employee notifies the employer that s/he is taking leave, and if an employee requests a copy of the leave regulations.
Private Plan Option: Employers may opt-out of participation in the State Plan for temporary disability insurance through a private plan. The Division of Temporary Disability Insurance has to approve all private plans, which must provide at least the same benefits at no additional cost as compared to the cost of the State Plan.
If employees are required to contribute to the cost of the private plan, a majority of employees must agree to the plan through a written election.
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Employers should closely monitor the rules and regulations specific to their jurisdiction(s) and should seek advice from counsel relative to their rights and responsibilities.