Final regulations issued by the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) implementing New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance Law became effective on March 2, 2009. The Family Leave Insurance law is a wage replacement law that gives eligible employees partial wage replacement (two-thirds of an employee’s regular weekly wage up to a maximum of $546 per week) for up to six weeks when taking leave to care for a newborn, a newly adopted child or a sick relative. Benefits under the law will be provided through the State Disability Fund or private insurance plans.
The only significant change between the proposed regulations issued in September 2008 (summarized in the September 19, 2008 issue of The New Jersey eAuthority) and the final regulations is the addition of the definition of the term “stepparent of the covered individual.” The NJDOL included this definition to ensure that a covered individual is eligible to receive family leave insurance benefits to care for the seriously ill civil union partner of his or her biological parent. Employers also should note that notice of the law must be provided to employees by no later than April 1, 2009, at the time of employees’ hiring, and whenever an employee notifies the employer of an intention to seek Family Leave Insurance benefits.
Also note that on March 9, 2009, another bill (S2686) was introduced to delay the implementation of the Family Leave Insurance Law for two years. Under this bill, the payment of benefits under the Family Leave Insurance Law would commence on July 1, 2011, instead of July 1, 2009, and the collection of ©Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. May be reproduced with prior permission. taxes to fund those benefits would commence on January 1, 2011, instead of January 1, 2009. Similar prior bills to delay implementation of the law remain pending.