The New Jersey State Senate has introduced legislation to expand benefits under the state’s Paid Family Leave Law. The bill (S-3085) would double the benefit period from six weeks to 12 weeks and increase the amount of compensation to the employee while on leave.
Effective on July 1, 2009, New Jersey’s Paid Family Leave Law provides covered workers in the state six weeks of paid family leave. Furthermore, the Law provides employee compensation, under the state’s temporary disability insurance system, at a rate of two-thirds (66%) of the employee’s weekly earnings, up to the weekly maximum of $677.00 (i.e., 53% of the statewide average wage for all workers).
Under S-3085, eligible employees would collect up to 80% of their weekly earnings, up to the same weekly maximum of 53% of the statewide average wage for all workers (currently, $677.00). For intermittent leave, the benefit would increase from 42 days of eligibility to 84 days of eligibility.
According to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s statistics, the benefits paid increased from a low of $72 million in 2010 to $85.8 million in 2015. Additionally, the number of claims for paid family leave benefits reached a high of 35,293 in 2016, an increase of roughly 10% from 2014. These cost statistics certainly will increase commensurately with the additional benefits available.