New Jersey Paid Family Leave

On February 19, 2019, Governor Murphy signed legislation to expansively amend New Jersey's Family Leave Insurance, Temporary Disability Insurance and Family Leave Act programs. This summary outlines high-level changes to the Family Leave Insurance program.
 

What is New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (FLI)?

The (FLI) program is a paid family leave program that provides up to six weeks of wage reimbursement to:

  • Bond with a new child within 12 months of birth or placement via adoption or foster care
  • Care for a seriously ill family member

Family member refers to a child, spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, or parent.

Effective February 19, 2019, New Jersey amended the FLI program with the following:

  • Family members now include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, parents-in-law, and others related by blood or relationship equivalent to a family relationship.
  • FLI benefits are extended to individuals who take time off from work to assist a family member who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence.
      
When did NJ FLI begin?

Since July of 2009, FLI has been available to NJ employees.
  

Who is eligible?

Any employee working in New Jersey that meets one of the two following requirements:

  • Worked at least 20 weeks during the 52 weeks leading up to the claim, making at least $172 per week, or
  • Earned at least $8,600 during the 52 weeks leading up to the claim

Employees are required to provide notice unless the employee needs the time unexpectedly or the leave changes due to unpredictable reasons. To bond with a new child, an employee is required to give 30 days' notice and provide reasonable advance notice for care of a seriously ill family member.
  

What is the voluntary/private plan option?

Employers are automatically enrolled with the State, unless they received prior approval for a private plan through an approved insurance carrier or decide to self-fund their plan. A private plan cannot be more restrictive, offer lower benefits or require more employee contributions than prescribed by the State.

Lincoln is an approved carrier in New Jersey to provide Temporary Disability Benefit (TDB) coverage; Lincoln does not offer a self-funded option and does not administer the FLI program.
  

How is the program funded?

This benefit program is 100% employee-funded by payroll deduction. The state updates deduction rates on an annual basis. The 2019 deduction rate is 0.08% of an employee's wages up to the taxable wage base ($34,400 for 2019). The 2019 maximum yearly deduction for NJ FLI is $27.52.

Effective January 1, 2020, the taxable wage base will be increased to 107 times the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW), raised to the next higher multiple of $100. For context, the 2019 taxable wage base is 28 times the statewide average weekly wage (which equates to $34,400). In 2020, the taxable wage base is expected to exceed $131,500 (based on 107 times the current $1,228.25 rounded to the next higher $100). The 2020 deduction rate will be communicated later in the year.
  

Are FLI benefits taxable?

FLI benefits are subject to federal income tax and to federal rules on reporting income and paying taxes. FLI benefits are not subject to New Jersey state income tax. Employees may choose to have 10% of their benefits withheld for federal income tax. Benefits are reported on a 1099-G tax form.
  

What are the benefits to the employee?

After a 7-day waiting period, this program offers 6 weeks of paid leave, where the benefit amount is based on the employee's average weekly wage, calculated using wages paid during the 8 weeks preceding the start of leave. The 2019 weekly benefit is two-thirds of an employee's average weekly wage up to a maximum of $650. The previous 7-day waiting period has been removed as of February 19, 2019.

Benefits are not payable for any period during which an employee receives any paid sick leave, vacation time or other leave at full pay from the employer.

Effective July 1, 2020, the maximum length for which FLI benefits will be paid will double from 6 to 12 weeks during any 12-month period. Employees will also receive 85% of their weekly wage, with the maximum possible benefit going up to 70% of the SAWW.
  

Does New Jersey FLI provide intermittent leave?

Yes. Leave can be taken intermittently during a 12-month period and should be agreed upon between the employer and employee.

In the case of taking intermittent leave for bonding with a child, the employee must take the leave in seven or more day increments.

Effective July 1, 2020, the maximum intermittent FLI leave is increased from 42 days to 56 days.

Intermittent leave requires 15 days' notice before the leave.
  

Does New Jersey FLI provide job protection?

No, the FLI program does not provide job protection. The employee's job may be protected if their leave also qualifies for leave under FMLA or the New Jersey Family Leave Act.
  

How can I get more information and access forms from New Jersey state?
Other New Jersey state paid leave resources: