On April 14, 2020, Governor Murphy signed bill S2374 into law, marking the second time since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak that the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) has been amended. Our blog post about the prior change is available here. The NJFLA, which covers all employers in the state with 30 or more employees, now requires job-protected leave for workers who, during “an epidemic of a communicable disease, a known or suspected exposure to the communicable disease, or efforts to prevent the spread of a communicable disease,” need leave:
- To care for a child whose school or child care facility has been ordered closed;
- To care for a family member whose presence in the community would jeopardize the health of others due to illness caused by a communicable disease or known or suspected exposure to such disease; or
- To care for a family member who has been instructed by a health care provider or public health authority to undergo self-quarantine.
The amendment makes clear that in appropriate circumstances, this leave can be taken intermittently. It also provides a description of the limited documentation employers may request from employees to establish the need for such leave. The law is effective immediately and retroactive to March 25, 2020.
New Jersey employers should understand that, as amended, the NJFLA now provides job-protected leave for any reason covered under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, but without the exceptions available under the federal law. In other words, companies that operate in New Jersey will have to provide leave to their employees even if they are healthcare providers and/or have greater than 500 employees.
Reed Smith’s labor and employment attorneys continue to monitor the state and federal response to COVID-19 and will provide updates as additional information becomes available. If you have any questions, our team is available to assist.