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New Jersey General Assembly Approves Legislation to Expand Access to State’s Family Leave Act

700,000 workers are now one step closer to obtaining job protection to care for a sick relative or newborn child

Legislation that would provide over 700,000 workers access to the Garden State’s Family Leave Act passed the New Jersey General Assembly today. The primary sponsors of the legislation are Assemblywomen Annette Quijano and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, along with Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. Assemblywoman Garnet Hall is a co-sponsor.

Currently, employers with 30 or more employees must offer employees the right to be reinstated after they take family leave to care for a child or an elderly relative. Bill A-3451 would gradually lower the threshold to employers with five or more employees.

“The number of people helped by this bill reaches far beyond just the individual workers,” said Assemblywoman Quijano (D-Union). “For every employee that benefits from A-3451, even more New Jerseyans – parents, children, siblings – would benefit as well.”

“Study after study shows that expanding the Family Leave Act is good for the workforce, good for babies and families, and good for the state overall,” said Speaker Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “No one should have to choose between caring for, or bonding with, a newborn child and remaining employed. The legislation advanced today would help ensure that the vast majority of workers never will.”

“Workers in multi-generational families face tough choices on a regular basis, but deciding to take time off to care for a sick relative or a newborn child should not come with the added pressure of worrying if they will have a job to return to,” said Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). “This meaningful piece of legislation is designed to remove that barrier for anyone who works somewhere that has five or more employees and wants to spend time focused on their families.”

“The birth of a baby is a joyous time that should not be overshadowed by a worker’s fear of losing their job while bonding with their child,” said Assemblywoman Hall (D-Essex, Union). “By expanding access to our state’s Family Leave Act, we’re aiming to remove that fear so that more new parents can focus on their family.”