Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees have the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for qualifying reasons. If your leave is protected under the FMLA, your employer must give you your job back when you return, or give you a position with equivalent seniority, working conditions, and benefits. If your employer normally pays for your health insurance, it must continue to do so while you are on leave.
To be a covered employer, your employer must have 50 or more employees for 20 workweeks during the current or preceding calendar year. Employees who work for your employer within a 75-mile radius of your worksite count toward the 50-employee total.
To be an eligible employee, you must have worked for your employer for more than 12 months, and for more than 1,250 hours in the 12-month period preceding the leave.
If you are an eligible employee working for a covered employer, you may take FMLA leave for the following reasons:
- Your own serious health condition that prevents you from doing your job;
- Caring for your child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition;
- Caring for your newborn child, newly adopted child, or foster child; or
- Managing the affairs of your family member who is a covered military member on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in support of a contingency operation.
If you qualify for FMLA leave, you have the right to take that leave free from harassment or discrimination, and your employer cannot interfere with your right to take leave. Your employer also may not discriminate against you for requesting information about your FMLA rights.
Family Leave in New Jersey
- The New Jersey Family Leave Act (FLA) provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid family leave in a 24-month period to eligible employees of covered employers. A covered employer is any company with 50 or more employees for 20 or more weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including state government agencies and schools. An employee is eligible if they worked for a covered employer for at least 1,000 hours over the last 12 months.
- Eligible employees can take leave to care for a newly born or adopted child; to care for the employee’s parent (including in-laws, step-parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, or any other person having a parent-child relationship with the employee), child under the age of 18, spouse or civil-union partner, who has a serious health condition requiring in-patient care, continuing medical treatment, or medical supervision.
- Unlike the federal FMLA, the New Jersey FLA does not provide leave for the employee’s own health condition.
- Your employer may require certification of birth or adoption, or medical certification of your family member’s serious health condition, to ensure your request meets the eligibility requirements.
- New Jersey also has paid family leave called Family Leave Insurance. Employment covered under the New Jersey unemployment insurance law is covered under New Jersey family leave insurance as well. You can claim family leave insurance for leave to bond with a newborn or adopted child during the first 12 months of their life or placement with your family, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Depending on the type of leave, you may need to give your employer varying amounts of notice, up to 30 days. The benefit amount is based on your average weekly wage in the eight weeks leading up to the leave, and you are eligible to receive 2/3 of your average weekly wage up to $637 per week.
Family Leave in New York
- Effective January 1, 2018, full-time employees of private companies who have worked 26 or more consecutive weeks, and part-time employees (less than 20 hours per week) of private companies who have worked more than 175 days (consecutive or non-consecutive) are eligible for job-protected, paid family leave in New York State.
- Eligible employees can take leave to bond with a newly born, adopted, or fostered child, care for a close relative (including a spouse, domestic partner, child, step-child, parent, step-parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild) with a serious health condition, or assist you family when a family member is deployed or on active military duty. You are eligible regardless of your citizenship or immigration status.
- A serious health condition is defined as illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition involving, (1) inpatient care at a hospital, residential care facility, or hospice; or (2) continuing treatment or supervision by a health care provider.
- The maximum leave allowed per every 52 weeks will be increased over a period of four years starting January 1, 2018. The maximum leave period begins at 8 weeks and increases to 12 weeks by January 1, 2021. The benefit amount will begin at 50% of an employee’s average weekly wages up to 50% of the state average weekly wage as of January 1, 2018, and will increase to 67% of an employee’s average weekly wages up to 67% of the state average weekly wage by January 1, 2021.