Governor Murphy signed legislation yesterday that amends the New Jersey Family Leave Act to provide job protections to employees who need to take leave from work during the COVID-19 epidemic in order to care for a family member because of qualifying reasons relating to the coronavirus. The passing of S2374 is part of a series of new laws enacted to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the severe impact it is having on New Jersey workers both at home and at their place of work.
In a press release, Governor Murphy said, “New Jerseyans should not have to make a decision between caring for a loved one with COVID-19 and keeping their job. Our state is already home to the nation’s most comprehensive Family Leave Act, and it’s only right that we expand these protections to meet the unprecedented health crisis we are facing.”
The New Jersey Family Leave Act provides eligible employees with up to twelve (12) weeks of job protected leave for certain qualifying reasons relating to family leave. These include bonding with a new born, adopting a child, the placing of a child into foster care with the employee or providing care to a family member who is suffering from serious health condition. The New Jersey Family Leave Act does not permit employees to take leave for their own serious health condition and therefore does not permit employees to take leave for their own heath related COVID-19 reason. Employees who are suffering from COVID-19 could be eligible for leave under other laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, New Jersey Law Against Discrimination or Americans with Disabilities Act.