On June 1, 2009, the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) posted the new Family Leave Insurance Benefits application on its website, which employees must use to claim benefits under the New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (NJFLI) law. Employees will be eligible for paid family leave benefits under the NJFLI beginning July 1, 2009, and applications for NJFLI leave cannot be submitted prior to that date. The form, FL-1, contains five parts (A-E). Parts A-C and E are to be completed by the employee, and require that the employee provide information about prior claims, the period for which benefits are sought, and whether leave will be take on an intermittent basis. If intermittent leave is sought, the employee must indicate the dates he or she will be absent. Part D is to be completed by the employer, and requires the employer to indicate whether the employee is receiving continued pay while on leave, whether the employee provided proper notice, and whether the employer wants the employee’s FLI benefits reduced by paid leave provided by the employer.
As we have advised in prior alerts, the NJFLI 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. There are no job protection or return rights under the new law.