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Amid changing NJ laws, employees need to know their rights

On behalf of Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP | Aug 29, 2018 |

The history of law is long, going back thousands of years. That does not mean it is stale and dusty. The truth is that it is ever changing, and so are the implications that follow. The challenge of keeping up with the shifts is a difficult one to face unless you’re immersed in the legal environment. That’s the value that attorneys bring to the table, and why consulting experienced counsel matters.

The issue of mandated worker benefits is one that is rarely off the legislative radar. As an example, note recent items in the news concerning efforts to provide greater support for working parents through paid family leave in New Jersey.

New Jersey already stands apart from most other states in that it has a Family Leave Insurance program that provides up to six weeks of cash benefits to parents welcoming a new child to the family or those needing to care for a sick loved one. There is even a program that may provide leave benefits if the need for them hits within two weeks of you becoming eligible for unemployment.

One element of the FLI program that draws criticism from some quarters is the fact that it does not offer job protection for those who take leave. While it is totally employee funded through payroll tax deductions, studies suggest FLI is underutilized because workers fear employer retaliation in the forms of demotion or even firing.

That could change under a measure now under consideration in the state legislature, but protections don’t exist yet. For now, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act does offer some job security for workers. The 12 weeks of leave it provides, however, doesn’t include cash benefits.

The demands of family life can put immense pressures on working parents. Speaking with an attorney can ensure you know your rights and help protect them.