NJPP Statement: Paid Family Leave Bill Passes Through The Legislature

Today, New Jersey passed legislation to make sweeping improvements to the state’s Paid Family Leave Insurance Program and the Temporary Disability Program. These changes will go a long way toward making the programs more accessible to working families, especially those struggling to balance work and family care-giving.

SHEILA REYNERTSON, SENIOR POLICY ANALYST, NJPP:
“New Jersey Policy Perspective has long supported critical improvements in the state’s Family Leave Insurance Program. As part of Time to Care Coalition, NJPP called for reforms in our 2017 report highlighting the design flaws that have undermined the intention and impact of the program. Far too many workers were not taking leave, even though they pay into the program, because they either didn’t know about it or couldn’t afford to use it. We applaud the legislature for quickly recognizing the need to make paid time off more accessible to working families, ensuring that New Jersey’s family leave program remains strong and competitive with other states.

“Improving New Jersey’s paid Family Leave Insurance program is a common-sense policy that ensures workers don’t have to make impossible choices between economic security and important family obligations. By improving wage replacement rates, more low-income workers can afford to take leave when they need it. And by expanding the length of leave from 6 weeks to 12 weeks, more new parents can take the necessary time to recover from birth and bond with a new child. This bill also crucially extends the benefit—and the economic security that comes along with it—to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“Disappointingly, the bill lacks important job protections, failing to protect 800,000 employees from losing their jobs if they choose to take leave because they work for a New Jersey business with fewer than 30 employees. The Time to Care Coalition will continue to advocate for universal job protection, because the size of a company should not determine whether a worker deserves economic security while grappling with difficult health and life altering events outside the workplace.”