The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights recently adopted revised regulations governing the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA), which employers will need to incorporate into their current family leave policies and procedures. Many of the revisions simply corrected typographical errors or clarified language without materially altering the meaning of the regulations. However, there are some substantive revisions as well that include:
- Broadening the definition of the term “child” to include children of a “resource family parent”;
- Defining the term “parent” as “a person who is the biological parent, adoptive parent, resource family parent, step-parent, parent-in-law, or legal guardian, having a ‘parent-child relationship’ with a child as defined in N.J.S.A. 34:11B-3, or having sole or joint legal or physical custody, care, guardianship, or visitation with a child”;
- Defining the term “family member” to include “a child, parent, spouse, or partner in a civil union”;
- Clarifying the definition of “intermittent leave” to mean “leave due to a single qualifying reason . . . taken in separate periods of time, where each period of leave is at least one workweek”;
- Deleting the previous definition of the term “reduced leave” and revising the definition of a “reduced leave schedule” to mean “leave due to a single qualifying reason . . . that is scheduled for fewer than an employee’s usual number of hours worked per workweek, but not for fewer than an employee’s usual number of hours worked per workday, unless agreed to by the employee and the employer”; and
- Creating a specific notice requirement that requires employees to provide notice to their employer that they are taking a covered NJFLA leave of absence “no later than 30 days prior to commencement of the leave” when possible.
While not all of these topics must be included in a written family leave policy under the law, at a minimum, if an employer’s policy conflicts with any of these new definitions, it should be revised.