The New Jersey Family Leave Act (FLA) protects employees who have to take time off from work in order to take care of a sick or disabled family member. Although the law does not require that employees who take leave to care for a family member be paid, it does ensure that they do not lose their jobs or have their jobs significantly changed due to a qualified absence. This means that an employer cannot fire a worker who chooses to exercise FLA rights, and the employer also cannot demote, reduce pay or salary, or otherwise change the status of an employee who has taken time off from work to take care of a sick or disabled family member.
The FLA also protects mothers and fathers who take time off from work to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. Coverage related to a new child lasts for twelve months after the date of birth or date of adoption.
Although the FLA protect workers throughout New Jersey, the protections it grants are limited. Most importantly, the FLA only provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave in a 24-month period. It also does not apply to companies with fewer than fifty employees. An employee must have been working for the current employer for at least one year and worked at least 1,000 hours within the preceding 12 months in order to be protected by the FLA. Finally, FLA applies only if an employee’s leave is taken to care of a spouse, civil union partner, parent, or child under 18. FLA coverage does extend, however, to cover parents who are in-laws, step parents, and foster parents as well.
If you have recently taken time off from your job to take care of a new child or a sick or disabled family member, and you were either fired or had some aspect of your job change significantly, your rights may have been violated. If this is the case, you should contact the experienced employment lawyers at The Mark Law Firm as soon as possible to obtain legal advice. The Mark Law Firm attorneys have handled many employment discrimination cases and are ready to help you protect the rights to which the New Jersey Family Leave Act entitles you.