New Jersey

Paid Family Leave Laws

Great news! There are several family leave laws that New Jersey workers can take advantage of:

  • Federal Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)
  • New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJ FLA)
  • New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (NJ FLI)

If you’re covered, the federal FMLA and NJ FLA give you the right to time off and protect your job, but do not provide pay. 

NJ FLI gives you cash benefits to help cover lost wages while you are on leave, but doesn’t protect your job. 

Generally, if you qualify for both, leave under FMLA and NJ FLA runs concurrently (at the same time). When taken at the same time, FMLA or NJ FLA leave can protect your job while NJ FLI provides you with cash benefits. 


Federal Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)

FMLA provides leave to care for a:

  • Child (who is under the age of 18 or incapable of self-care due to a physical or mental disability)
  • Spouse
  • Parent (including a biological, adoptive, foster, or step-parent, or any other person who stood "in loco parentis” but not including a parent-in-law)

FMLA eligibility includes:

  • All public employers and private employers who employ 50 or more workers within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite. 
  • ​​Employees must have worked for a covered employer for at least one year and have worked for that employer for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months. 

FMLA provisions:

Up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

  • For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care, or childbirth
  • To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform their job
  • For certain needs in connection with a loved one's military deployment
  • If medically necessary, employees caring for a seriously ill loved one may be able to take this time in smaller chunks, spread out over time, rather than all at once

FMLA Protections:

  • Job and Seniority: Upon return from FMLA leave, nearly all employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms. Rare exceptions to this rule are explained here
  • Benefits: During FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s health coverage and continue paying any share of their health insurance premium under any “group health plan” on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work.
  • FMLA rights: An employer can’t punish an employee in any way for using their FMLA rights and can’t interfere with the employees ability to use their rights under the law.


How to apply for FMLA:

  • Notify your employer of your need for leave. You'll need to get your loved one's health care provider to certify their health condition and need for care. Your employer will then provide you with notices and forms to fill out and return to them. 
  • If you know in advance when your leave will start, tell your employer at least 30 days before that date. If you can’t do so or don’t know in advance, tell your employer as soon as possible.

Detailed information about Federal FMLA, visit the US Department of Labor website


But first, check out how the New Jersey laws expand on this coverage below.

New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJ FLA)

NJ FLA expands on the Federal FMLA law with:

  • A broader definition of “family member”
  • Eligibility for more residents 

NJ FLA provides leave to care for a:

  • Child of any age (biological, adopted, foster, stepchild, legal ward, or resource family child)
  • Parent
  • Spouse
  • Parent-in-law
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Domestic partner
  • Any other individual related by blood
  • Any other individual that the employee shows they have a close association with which is the equivalent of a family relationship

NJ FLA eligibility includes:

Employees who work for a state or local government agency, or a company or organization with 30 or more employees worldwide, have been employed by the company for at least 1 year, and have worked at least 1,000 hours for that employer in the past 12 months

NJ FLA provisions:

Up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 24-month period:

  • To care for or bond with a child, beginning within 1 year of the child’s birth or placement for adoption or foster care
  • To care for a family member, or someone who is the equivalent of family, with a serious health condition, or (during a declared state of emergency) who has been isolated or quarantined because of suspected exposure to a communicable disease 
  • To provide required care or treatment for a child during a state of emergency, if their school or place of care is closed by order of a public official due to an epidemic of a communicable disease or other public health emergency

NJ FLA protections:

  • Job & seniority: When the employee returns to work, they are generally entitled to return to the same position they held before leave (or an equivalent position)
  • NJ fLA rights: The employer may not retaliate against the employee because they took or attempted to take leave under the NJ FLA.

New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (NJ FLI)

NJ FLI expands on the Federal FMLA law with:

  • A broader definition of “family member”
  • Eligibility for more residents 
  • Paid leave

New Jersey’s Paid Family Leave Insurance (NJ FLI) provides leave to care for a:

  • Child
  • Parent
  • Spouse
  • Parent-in-law
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Domestic partner
  • Any other individual related by blood 
  • Any other individual that the employee shows they have a close association with which is the equivalent of a family relationship

NJ FLI eligibility includes:

  • Most NJ employees who have paid into the program through their employer and meet minimum gross earnings requirements
  • Exemptions include: some text
    • Federal government employees
    • Out-of-state employees (i.e. those who do not work in New Jersey)
    • Employees of faith-based organizations
    • Workers that are not technically employees (eg: contractors)

NJ FLI provisions:

  • Up to 12 consecutive weeks of paid leave or up to 8 weeks of intermittent paid leave in a 12-month period
  • For caregiving claims, the 12-month period begins on the first day of your leave
  • For bonding, the 12-month period begins on the child's birth, placement, or adoption

Note: A closely related program provides benefits for employees’ own serious health conditions.

NJ FLI Benefit Amount:
The employee’s weekly benefit rate will be 85% of their average weekly wage, up to the maximum weekly benefit rate set for that calendar year. In 2024, the maximum weekly benefit rate is $1,055 per week. 

NJ FLI protections:

  • Job & seniority: The employer is not required to hold the employee’s position until they return from leave. However, the employee’s job may be protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJ FLA), which require covered employers to provide employees with unpaid, job-protected leave for up to 12 weeks. 

How to apply for family leave in New Jersey:

For FMLA and NJ FLA:
Notify your employer of your need for leave, 30-days prior to your leave start date, when possible. They will provide you with or direct you to the proper forms to fill out and submit. 

For NJ FLI:

  • Notify your employer of your need for leave as soon as possible for continuous leave and 15-days prior to your leave start date for intermittent leave (unless an emergency or unforeseen circumstances prevent you from doing so). 
  • You can apply online. Or you can download, complete, and print the application form to submit via mail or fax. 

For the most current details about NJ FLA check out this pdf from NJ.gov.
For the most current details about NJ FLI visit this page on the NJ.gov website.

Note: The state, county, or city where you live may also offer short term (a few days per year) paid sick leave or paid time off that you may be able to use for caregiving. You can find short term leave information for jurisdictions in the state of New Jersey here.

The information on this page should not be considered legal advice. Other protections may apply in your specific situation. 

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