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NJ Mandates Paid Family Leave for Large and Small Employers

| Legal Alert

New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine today signed into law a program that will entitle almost all employees in the state – whether they work for large or small businesses -- to take up to six weeks of paid family leave.

The state program – only the third in the country to mandate paid family leave -- will not take effect until July 1, 2009. When it does, employers can expect more employees to take time off to care for children and sick family members, causing greater strain on the employees and managers left behind to do their work.

The new law has the following key provisions:

Payroll tax deductions will begin January 1, 2009, and will amount to an estimated 75 cents per week, or about $35 per year for each worker.

The new paid family leave does not change the existing federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) or the New Jersey FLA, which already requires that employers with 50 or more employees must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for certain family or medical leave purposes. Paid leave under the new law will run concurrently with the FMLA and FLA.

Although the controversial law has generated vocal opposition from business groups and small employers, it does include several provisions that limit the impact to employers:

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development will be issuing regulations on the implementation and application of the new law. In addition, the Department will issue notices that employers must post to inform employees of their rights and responsibilities under the law. Payroll tax deductions will begin January 1, 2009.

If you have any questions about this Alert or about compliance with state and federal family and medical leave laws, please contact us.

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