Within the last three years, New Jersey has enacted both Employee Paid Sick Leave and Family Leave Insurance. If you have not included these in your employee handbooks, now is the time as these are highly influential labor laws that every employer in New Jersey should be ensure they comply with. Here is what you need to know so that you are ready to educate your employees and ensure you protect your business.
New Jersey requires employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees under Employee Paid Sick Leave (ESL). ESL is paid through taxes and is available to all employees: hourly, salaried, temporary, commissioned, etc. Employees accrue one hour of job-protected leave per every 30 hours worked, up to a total of 40 hours each year. It can be used for a variety of needs, including health reasons, school-related meetings, domestic violence concerns, and more.
Employers must provide employees with an ESL Notice upon hire so they understand the leave, how it is used, and their rights. Employers should also familiarize themselves with this law to ensure you are being compliant and can answer any questions that may arise.
New Jersey provides Family Leave Insurance (FLI) to employees with at least 1 year of tenure and 1,000 or more hours over the preceding 12 months. FLI provides employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave with cash benefits so that they can take a break from work to bond with new children – whether by birth, adoption, or foster. The benefits are 85% of their average pay up to $993 per week, and leave may be either intermittently taken or taken continuously.
When including FLI in your employee handbook, you should highlight eligibility requirements, benefit levels, and leave options. It is helpful to have a package put together for expecting mothers/fathers on the benefits available to them. This way, when employees ask about the benefits, you have a package to provide them explaining what is available. It is helpful to include important deadlines for and copies of all applications in this package.
First and foremost, every New Jersey employer should ensure these leave policies are in their employee handbooks. Each employer should become familiar with these policies so that you can answer employee questions as they arise, or be sure to have an HR partner who can do all of this for you.
If you have questions or need help incorporating these policies into your handbook, we are happy to help! Contact our HR experts to get their advise on how to ensure you are compliant.