New Jersey Expands Leave Laws and Raises Minimum Wage

New Jersey Labor Law PostersEarlier this year, Governor Phil Murphy signed two bills into laws that expand New Jersey’s leave laws and amend the wage and hour law. Most amendments are effective now. Covered employers must review the new laws to ensure compliance.

Bill A 3975

Under enacted Bill A 3975, New Jersey’s Family Leave Act expands its reach to employers with 30 employees or more. Previously, the Act only applied to employers with 50 or more employees. Covered employers must provide employees with 12 weeks of job-protected leave for the birth, foster care placement or adoption of a child or to care for the employee’s family member with a serious health condition during a 24-month period. The amended New Jersey Family Leave Act also expanded the definition of family member to include “parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, any other individual related by blood to the employee, and any other individual that the employee shows to have a close association with the employee which is the equivalent of a family relationship.” Furthermore, employees will no longer need their employer’s approval to take intermittent leave. Employees will be allowed to use intermittent leave upon the birth, adoption or foster care place of a child.

The new law also amended New Jersey’s Family Temporary Disability Benefits Law. Effective July 1, 2020, the family temporary disability leave will increase from six weeks to 12 weeks in a 12-month period. The maximum intermittent leave period will increase from 42 days to 56 days. For period of disability and family temporary disability, an individual’s weekly benefit rate shall be 85% of the individual’s average weekly wage, subject to a maximum of 70% of the Statewide average weekly remuneration paid to workers by employers. Effective now, employees will not be required to use up two weeks of sick leave accumulated before receiving family temporary disability benefits. Employees must provide 15 days of advance notice when requesting intermittent leave. Finally, the law prohibits employers from discharging, harassing, threatening, discriminating, or retaliating against an employee with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or other privileges of employment, including reinstatement, because the employee took or requested the family temporary disability leave.

Bill A 15

Under enacted Bill A 15, the hourly minimum wage will be increased to $15.00 per hour by the year 2024:

  • $10.00 per hour effective July 1, 2019
  • $11.00 per hour effective January 1, 2020
  • $12.00 per hour effective January 1, 2021
  • $13.00 per hour effective January 1, 2022
  • $14.00 per hour effective January 1, 2023
  • $15.00 per hour effective January 1, 2024

Then starting 2024, the minimum wage will increase based on the consumer price index for all urban wage earners and clerical workers.

The law does include the following exemptions:

  • Employees of small employers (fiver or fewer employees) – minimum wage will increase to $15.00 per hour by the year 2026.
  • Seasonal employees – minimum wage will increase to $15.00 per hour by the year 2026.
  • Farmworkers – minimum wage will increase to $12.50 per hour by the year 2024. Then by March 31, 2024, the commissioner and Secretary of Agriculture will decide whether to continue increasing to $15.00 per hour.
  • Tipped workers – the minimum wage will increase to $5.13 per hour by the year 2024.

Ensure Workplace Postings are Current

To help inform employers and employees about these new changes, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General have updated several mandatory workplace postings. These postings must be displayed in a conspicuous location in the workplace. CPC’s New Jersey All-On-One Labor Law Poster has been updated with the revised New Jersey Wage and Hour Abstract, Family Leave Act, Family Leave Insurance Provisions of the New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law, and Unemployment and Temporary Disability Benefits Laws postings. Order your poster today!

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