Legal Alert: New Jersey Significantly Increases Employee Minimum Wage and Leave Entitlements

New Jersey has enacted two new laws that significantly increase the minimum wage and employees’ entitlements with respect to leaves of absence and wage replacement benefits.

New Jersey’s minimum wage will increase gradually, to at least $15.00 an hour. Not all employees will reach the $15.00 level at the same time. To learn more about the upcoming changes to the minimum wage, including the new training minimum wage, read our new article, New Jersey’s Minimum Wage Going Up to at Least $15.00.

Second, several New Jersey laws relating to leaves of absence and wage replacement benefits for periods of disability and periods of absence due to certain personal and family-related reasons were amended to give eligible employees expanded options for job-protected leaves and benefits.

The changes are extensive and include, for example:

  • As of June 30, 2019, the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) will apply to employers with 30 or more employees. Currently, the law applies just to employers with 50 or more employees.
  • For family leaves commencing on or after July 1, 2020, eligible employees will be entitled to up to 12 weeks or 56 days of family leave insurance benefits, up from the current six weeks or 42 days.
  • As of February 19, 2019, eligible employees will be allowed to take job-protected unpaid leave and receive family insurance leave benefits with respect to an expanded group of family members, including, but not limited to, (1) any individuals related by blood to the employees and (2) any other individuals that the employees show to have a close association with the employees which is the equivalent of a family relationship.

To learn more about these changes, read our new article, New Jersey Significantly Expands Employee Entitlements with Respect to Leaves of Absence and Wage Replacement Benefits, and our updated article, New Jersey Adopts NJ SAFE Act That Requires Unpaid Leave for Victims of Domestic or Sexual Violence.

On April 9, 2019, Pro Bono Partnership will be presenting a webinar on The Ins and Outs of New Jersey Leave and Disability Laws, which will discuss some of the major changes to the rules governing leaves and benefits. To register for this program, click here.

If you have any questions regarding the new laws, contact Christine Michelle Duffy, Esq. in
the New Jersey office of Pro Bono Partnership at 973-240-6955 ext. 303.