Governor signs New Jersey Paid Family Leave Bill

On Friday May 2, the New Jersey governor signed a bill that will give employees in the state up to six weeks of paid leave per year after the birth or adoption of a child or to care for an ailing relative.

The law will go into effect next year, allowing parents to take paid leave within the first year after the child’s birth or adoption. The New Jersey Paid Family Leave Bill also extends to allow paid time off to care for a seriously ill immediate family member.

Governor Jon Corzine’s decision to sign the bill was influenced by a traumatic car crash just more than a year ago that ended with Corzine in the hospital. The Governor said his family’s strong support was a major part of his recovery, but not everyone is as fortunate to have family able to be at the hospital everyday.

New Jersey joins California and Washington as the only states to offer similar family leave benefits.

A state fund will replace up to two-thirds of salary for a person on leave, no more than $524 per week. Family leave benefits will be funded through employee payroll deductions, with a maximum contribution of $33 per employee each year.

There will be a seven day waiting period for those who apply for paid family leave before they can collect benefits. Employers can require employees to use up to two weeks of unused vacation time before receiving paid family leave. One of those vacation weeks will is meant to cover the waiting period.

Employee contributions are set to being January 1, 2009, with benefits available starting July 1, 2009.

Read a past post on this topic and the fully story from the Ashbury Park Press.

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