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New Jersey Division of Civil Rights introduces amendments to Family Leave Act

By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD

With several of the current rules enforcing New Jersey’s Family Leave Act (NJFLA) set to expire this July, the Division of Civil Rights (DCR) recently announced proposed rules that would broaden family leave protection and build-in the re-adoption of important provisions from 2014, 2019 and 2020, before they lapse.

Published in the Federal Register on March 2, 2021, and currently open for comment, the complete text of the proposals can be found here.  The purpose of the proposals is to not only provide more accurate guidance to employers and workers regarding the changes that have occurred since 2014 but also to ensure the safety and well being of working families; particularly with regard to unprecedented events such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Important updates include broadened definitions of terms such as “eligible employee” and “covered employer” as well as a concise clarification that employees may provide less than thirty-days notice of their intent to take leave in some situations (such as during a global pandemic).  The amendments also broaden the definition of “family member” to not only include a parent, child, spouse or domestic partner but to also include in-laws, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, other blood relatives, and individuals who are the equivalent of family.

The term “family leave” has been expanded to include leave for family members who have been isolated or quarantined due to suspected exposure to a communicable disease and also leave to provide care for children when schools and daycare facilities have been closed due to an epidemic or other public health emergency.  The amendments also eliminate an employer’s discretion to deny leave to their highest-paid workers to care for family members during a state of emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Campanella Law Office is committed to keeping you updated regarding the latest developments regarding the new rule proposals.  Additional information can be found on the DCR’s website, here.  Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the interpretation or implementation of the NJFLA, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.

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