Maternity leave is an important consideration for working parents that have and are planning to have children. New Jersey offers two partial paid leave for pregnancy and parenting. Women can receive paid maternity leave according to the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA). In addition, new parents are entitled to take unpaid leave for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
In New Jersey, short-term disability provides partial wage recovery for employees unable to work from medical issues, including pregnancy. This insurance allows new parents to receive benefits that cover time after the child joins the family and for parental leave time. For maternity leave benefits, there must be medical proof that the mother cannot work. For healthy pregnancies, the eligibility period is four weeks before the baby is born and six to eight weeks following the birth.
The NJFLA provides partial benefits for up to 18 weeks, with job protection for up to 24 weeks. The state also offers paid medical and family leave, for both mothers and fathers, for six to eight weeks, depending on the family’s situation. The amount of the benefits will depend on the employee’s income and the company’s requirements. The paid leave is equivalent to two-thirds of the parent’s gross income. As of 2017, the weekly maximum for temporary disability payments was $677.
The FMLA allows parents to take 12 weeks off, whether the child is biological, a foster child, or adopted, or during their time of pregnancy. The NJFLA permits employees to have 12 weeks off for childcare only every two years. However, FMLA benefits can be used yearly. If eligibility requirements for both laws are met, parents may be able to receive more than just 12 weeks of parental leave. Certain restrictions also apply, including how many employees are at the company and how long the employee has worked for the company.
This federal law protects working parents from discrimination by their employers. Although it does not force companies to allow pregnant workers to have time off, the companies must treat them as they would other temporarily disabled workers. New Jersey employers must give pregnant employees reasonable accommodations to promote healthy pregnancies and recovery. This can include less hours, more breaks, and less physical work, unless it would incur excessive hardships to the company. Employers are forbidden from firing an employee that wishes to take leave under the FMLA or NJFLA. Expectant parents and others planning to have families should contact an employment lawyer to understand how these state programs work.
Starting a family should be a happy time, and it is important to understand how maternity benefits work in New Jersey. Contact a knowledgeable Long Branch employment lawyer at Fox & Melofchick, L.L.C. for legal guidance today. Call 732-493-9400 or contact us online for a free consultation. We are in Eatontown, New Jersey, and we represent clients throughout Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Asbury Park, Neptune, Long Branch, Keansburg, Ocean Township, Eatontown, Red Bank, Middletown, Colts Neck, Deal, Freehold, Holmdel, Jackson, Little Silver, Marlboro, and Rumson.