Paid Family Leave now Law in NJ

Category: Elder Law, Business Law and Planning

Hot from njbiz.com, Corzine Signs Paid Leave Bill in 'Legacy Moment' New Jersey's Governor Corzine today signed paid family leave into law. "Calling it a "legacy moment" and a "moral necessity," Gov. Jon S. Corzine today signed into law a bill that will give government and private-sector workers six weeks of paid leave to care for newborns or seriously ill immediate family members."

New Jersey becomes only the second state in the nation to have 6-weeks mandatory paid family leave. The new law is not without its detractors. "Supporters of the bill say the new law will help workers balance their work and family life. Business lobbyists and other critics argue that employers--especially small ones like doctors' offices and car repair shops--cannot afford to lose key workers for up to six weeks at a time. The critics say that becoming the first state in the region to mandate paid leave would further damage the state's image as a place to do business."

Business owners are obviously concerned that they can't afford key employees to be gone for 6 weeks at a time, regardless of who is paying for the time off. On the flip side, caregivers should take heed of a law that may allow them to devote their full time and efforts to a family emergency without fear of losing their job and all of their salary.

The article outlines the details of the new law are as follows:

"Under the law, workers will get two-thirds of their regular pay, up to $524 per week. Employees could collect the money for up to six weeks and employers would have the option of requiring the workers to first take two weeks of fully paid vacation or sick leave.

The program would be funded by workers, who would pay about 75 cents a week more into the existing state Temporary Disability Insurance fund through payroll deductions. That translates into about $35 per year.

State and federal law now entitles workers to 12 weeks of family leave, but it is unpaid and employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt. While the new paid family leave bill covers all employers, those with fewer than 50 employees are not required to hold open jobs for workers on paid leave.

Payroll deductions would start on Jan. 1, 2009, with workers able to take paid leave starting July 1, 2009, according to the bill. The Department of Labor estimates that approximately 38,000 individuals, or about 1 percent of New Jersey's work force, will collect benefits annually, but business lobbyists have argued it will be much higher."

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