Greater Bergen Community Action
NJ Workers: Know Your Rights
All New Jersey workers – including members of immigrant and refugee communities – have protections under the NJ Paid Family and Medical Leave law as well as the Earned Sick Leave law. (nj.gov/labor)
Let’s dive deeper.
NJ Paid Family and Medical Leave is a policy that supports our health and the health of our families while advancing economic security, productivity at work, and gender equality. This means that by this policy, you're covered when you're ill, injured, pregnant, recovering from childbirth, bonding with a new child, caring for a loved one, and coping with domestic or sexual violence. NJ Paid Family and Medical Leave is made up of NJ Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) and NJ Family Leave Insurance (FLI).
Earned Sick Leave is the law in New Jersey requiring employers of all sizes to provide full-time, part-time, and temporary employees with up to 40 hours of earned sick leave per year so they can care for themselves or a loved one, and many COVID-19 situations are covered. For short term leave, most employees are eligible for NJ Earned Sick Leave.
So what's the difference between the two? The key differences between NJ Earned Sick Leave and Paid Family and Medical Leave are (1) how the benefits are paid, (2) the benefit amount; and (3) the documentation required. Here are the specifics:
How benefits are paid
Benefits for Earned Sick Leave are paid by the employer
Benefits for TDI/FLI are paid by the state of NJ
Through Earned Sick Leave, workers receive their normal rate of pay
Through TDI/FLI, workers receive 85% of their average weekly wage; up to $993 per week
For Earned Sick Leave, employers can require documentation if leave is taken 3 or more days in a row
For TDI/FLI, the state of NJ will request documentation
New Jersey is one of few states that has a Paid Family and Medical Leave policy – the US is the only advanced economy without a national paid family and medical leave policy.
Through NJ Paid Family and Medical Leave, you're covered for:
Illness (physical or mental) or injury
Pregnancy and childbirth recovery
Bonding with a new child
Caring for a loved one
Coping with domestic or sexual violence
Your employer must be covered. Employers must participate or provide employees coverage through a private insurance plan. However, the federal government is exempt, and Temporary Disability is optional for local governments, for example, counties, municipalities, and school districts. Generally, employees working substantially outside of NJ are not covered.
What is required for a claim to be filed and approved?
NJ workers must:
Have a valid SSN
Work for a covered employer
Have worked 20 weeks total earning at least $240 weekly or have earned a combined total of $12,000 in the base year in 2022
The benefits you can receive are:
85% of average weekly wage with a maximum of $993 per week in 2022
For Temporary Disability Insurance: up to 26 weeks of benefits, as certified by a medical professional
For Family Leave Insurance: up to 12 weeks of benefits if taken consecutively, 56 days of benefits if taken intermittently
You can also transition between unemployment and temporary disability/family leave, if qualified.
**Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance are partial wage replacement programs and they do not provide job protection. However during the period in which an employee receives TDI or FLI benefits, an employee's job may be protected under the following laws: Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA).
To learn more, visit myleavebenefits.nj.gov. Earned Sick Leave Law For short term leave, most employees are eligible for NJ Earned Sick Leave. You're covered under NJ's Earned Sick Leave for the following reasons:
For physical/mental illness or wellness care
To get the COVID-19 vaccine and/or recover from side effects
To cope with domestic or sexual violence
To attend a meeting at your child’s school
Employees accrue 1 hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of leave per benefit year. You may carry over up to 40 hours of unused earned sick leave or be paid for unused sick leave at the end of the benefit year. Employers can only require documentation if leave is taken 3 or more days in a row, but advanced noticed is required if the need for leave is foreseeable.
Some permitted uses of NJ Earned Sick Leave overlap with Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance.
You can use either Earned Sick Leave or Temporary Disability Insurance for your own medical condition, and you can also use either Earned Sick Leave or Family Leave Insurance to care for a loved one.
To learn more, go to mysickdays.nj.gov.
**All of the information above is attributed to the New Jersey Department of Labor**