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Family and Medical Leaves of Absence

The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)  allows eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.  Employees in the State of New Jersey may also be entitled to unpaid, job-protected leave under the New Jersey Family Leave Act (“FLA”).  Retaliation for taking leave under the FMLA or FLA and/or interference with an employee’s rights to take leave under the FMLA or FLA may give rise to legal claims. 

Which Employers are Subject to the FMLA and/or New Jersey FLA?

Not all employers are subject to the New Jersey FLA and the federal FMLA. 

The New Jersey FLA applies to employers that have 30 or more employees (who work 20 or more workweeks during the current or preceding year).  The federal FMLA applies to employers who are engaged in commerce and employ 50 or more employees (who work 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding year).  

Which Employees are Eligible Under the FMLA and/or New Jersey FLA?

To be eligible under the New Jersey FLA, an individual has to be employed by a covered employer in the State of New Jersey for at least 12 months and for at least 1,000 base hours during the 12-month period preceding the leave. 

To be eligible under the federal FMLA, an individual has to be employed by the employer for at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12-month period.  

An Employee’s Rights Under the FMLA and New Jersey FLA 

Under the New Jersey FLA, an individual generally can take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave during any 24-month period for the following reasons: 

  • To care for or bond with a child, as long as the leave begins within 1 year of the child’s birth or placement for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for a family member, or someone who is the equivalent of family, with a serious health condition (including a diagnosis of COVID-19), or who has been isolated or quarantined because of suspected exposure to a communicable disease (including COVID-19) during a state of emergency; or
  • To provide required care or treatment for a child during a state of emergency if their school or place of care is closed by order of a public official due to an epidemic of a communicable disease (including COVID-19) or other public health emergency. 

Under the FMLA, an individual generally can take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave during any 12-month period for the following reasons:  

  • For the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
  • For placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition; or
  • To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

How a Leave of Absence Attorney Can Help

Leave of absences issues are particularly complex. It can be confusing and overwhelming for an employee to understand these types of issues. Accordingly, it is important to retain a trusted employment attorney to help you navigate complicated leave of absence legal issues.  

Consult a New Jersey FMLA Attorney

CMS’ Employment Law Attorneys are trusted counselors who help their clients navigate through complex legal issues, including issues pertaining to leaves of absence. Our Employment Law Attorneys are well versed in leave of absence issues, listen to ours client’s needs, and help them achieve their goals. If you are in need of assistance regarding a workplace leave of absence, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.

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