(TRENTON) – With the goal to provide job protection to employees who need to take time off from work to care for an ill family member amid the COVID-19 pandemic, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon), Joseph Egan (D-Middlesex, Somerset) and Linda Carter (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union) was signed into law Tuesday by Governor Phil Murphy. It was approved Monday by the full Assembly, 80-0 and the Senate, 38-0.
The new law (formerly bill A-3913) expands New Jersey’s Family Leave Act to include leave for employees who need to care for a sick family member due to an epidemic of a communicable disease, known or suspected exposure to the disease, or to prevent the spread of the disease. During the COVID-19 outbreak, workers will be allowed to take up to 12 weeks of family leave during a 24-month period without losing their jobs.
The law’s sponsors released the following joint statement:
“Countless New Jersey residents have needed to take time off from work to care for family members due to the health crisis created by the spread of COVID-19, and many more will need to do so in the future. There’s never been a more important time to strengthen our family leave program.
“In a time of growing uncertainty, every worker deserves to know they won’t lose their job if they use family leave. This law also expands family leave for parents of school aged children who need to take time off due to school closures during this crisis.
“New Jersey has one of the most robust family leave laws in the nation. Today we make our program stronger to address the challenging times we are in.”