In Brief

N.J. finalizes expanded protections under paid-leave law

By: - October 19, 2021 6:55 am

New Jersey workers will be protected under the Family Leave Act if they need to care for a family member with serious health conditions during a pandemic. (Getty Images)

More New Jersey workers will be protected for taking time off for family leave due to COVID-19 under new rules related to the state’s Family Leave Act, the state Attorney General’s Office announced Monday.

The rules expand the law’s job protections to people who, during a state of emergency, need to care for a family member — or someone who is the equivalent of family — who has been isolated or quarantined because they were exposed to a disease. Providing child care when schools are closed for public health emergencies will also now allow someone’s job to remain protected.

“New Jersey workers should not have to worry about their job security when they need time off to care for a loved one,” Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic only underscored the importance of the Family Leave Act’s protections. With the expanded rights signed into law by Governor Murphy and the rules we are announcing today, New Jersey workers have stronger protections than ever before.”

Under the New Jersey Family Leave Act, workers can take up to 12 weeks of leave during a two-year period to care for a new child or family member, including someone with a serious health condition. People are entitled to return to the same position they held before taking time off.

The updated rules clarify that “parent” and “child” include all parent-child relationships, including LGBTQ families. It also expands the definition of “covered employers” to include workplaces with 30 employees or more worldwide, a change from the previous threshold of 50 employees.

Plus, employees will no longer have to provide 30 days’ notice to take family leave in some situations, like caring for family during a deadly pandemic.

And workers laid off or furloughed by employers who were slowing business operations in response to a state of emergency, including the coronavirus pandemic, will be included under “eligible employees” for paid leave, according to the changes announced Monday.

The Division on Civil Rights approved the new rules, which were proposed in March by former Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

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Sophie Nieto-Munoz
Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Muñoz, a New Jersey native and former Trenton statehouse reporter for, shined a spotlight on the state’s crumbling unemployment system and won several awards for investigative reporting from the New Jersey Press Association. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her report on PetSmart's grooming practices, which was also recognized by the New York Press Club. Sophie speaks Spanish and is proud to connect to the Latinx community through her reporting.