New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJ DOL) has issued regulations interpreting New Jersey’s newly implemented paid family leave law, formally known as the “Family Leave Insurance Law.”

The new law became effective January 1, 2009, when employee contributions commenced. Eligible employees can take advantage of the law’s leave benefits beginning July 1, 2009. The law provides eligible employees with up to six weeks of paid leave during any 12-month period to care for a sick family member or to bond with a newborn or a newly adopted child.

The new regulations address private plan approvals, employer notice requirements, claim filing and payment procedures, paid leave in lieu of FLI benefits, reduction of benefits under various circumstances and intermittent leave. Some of the more notable regulations are:

Private Plans

Employers with private plans must submit them to the NJ DOL for prior approval. The new private plan approval process mirrors the regulations governing private plan approval for Temporary Disability Insurance Benefits. (N.J.A.C. 12:21-2.1 through 2.28).

The regulations also address how to handle employee contributions to private plans. Specifically, employee contributions to a private plan cannot be commingled with an employer’s assets and must be deposited in a trust fund account, which are to be used only for the administration and payment of FLI benefits. The trust fund accounts must be made available by employers for periodic inspection by the NJ DOL Division of Temporary Disability Insurance.

Notice Requirements

Employers are required to post in an accessible worksite area a printed notification of covered employees’ rights pertaining to FLI benefits. Employers also must distribute a written copy to each employee - which may be in electronic form - within 30 days of adoption of the regulations (March 2, 2009), at the time of hiring, whenever the employee provides notice to the employer, or upon the first request of the employee of a need for FLI benefits. Employers can request both the written notification poster and the written copy of the notification from the NJ DOL.