Changes in NJFLA will go into effect this summer. If you have employees based in NJ and have between 30 and 50 employees, in total, anywhere, these changes will impact you. Now is the time to adapt your policies and procedures to ensure ongoing compliance.
Governor Murphy signed into law an expansion of the New Jersey Family Leave Act in February of this year. The changes go into effect on June 30, 2019. Here’s what changed…
- The change reduced the threshold for protection under NJFLA from 50 employees to 30, even if all employees are not in NJ.
- The definition of child and family member has been expanded – significantly. Simply put, if the employee identifies someone as a family member, then they are.
- Employees may now take intermittent leave related to the arrival (birth, adoption or foster) of a child without the approval of the employer. In addition, the notice period for intermittent leave is reduced to 15 days. Other types of leave still need 30 days notice.
- The change also impacted the New Jersey Family Leave Insurance Law (NJFLI) and the New Jersey SAFE Act.
What Does It Mean?
If you are a NJ employer and have between 30 and 50 employees in total, anywhere, your NJ-based employees will be protected by NJFLA. Here’s what that means:
- Employers must provide 12 weeks of job-protected family leave to employees over a 24 month period.
- The leave is unpaid and can be taken in one block or intermittently.
- It applies to all employees, regardless of tenure, occupational rate or exemption status.
- You cannot refuse the leave, however employees have to give you advance notice (15 or 30 days).
- You have to track the leave. For intermittent leave, it creates additional administrative work.
- The law allows employees to take time off to care for a family member, not themselves.
What Should You Do?
If you are impacted by the expanded legislation, now is the time to plan for policy and procedure changes for your organization.
- Start by reviewing your employee handbook and incorporating the changes into your leave policies. If you don’t already have a policy for unpaid leave, you will need to add one now. If you had help with your handbook, reach out to your vendor partner and see if they have policy text that they can provide and you can adapt as needed.
- Next, determine how you will track leave for your employees. Can your time and attendance system take care of it? Do you need to track it manually and make changes to payroll each period to ensure employees are paid correctly?
- Lastly, identify who in your vendor list can help you implement the changes. What can your payroll provider do to help? Do you have a partner who can help with the communications to your employees?
If you have questions or concerns with the upcoming changes, please contact us.
New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) A-3975.
National Law Review Article