Last Updated on November 9, 2022 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
Are you a New Jersey resident and eager to welcome a baby into your home? If you meet the requirements below, you may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of partially paid maternity leave under the New Jersey Maternity Leave Insurance program. This allows you to bond with a newborn or newly adopted foster child every year. Don’t worry! NJFLA provides job security while Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) or Family Leave Insurance Program (FLI) pays for leave.
New Jersey Maternity Leave
How many weeks of paid maternity leave can I get?
This depends on the employer. You’re lucky if your company offers paid maternity leaves as part of your benefits package. However, if your company doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, you may still be eligible for partial payment for the time you travel to bond with your new child.
New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance program (FLI), allows you to take up to 12 weeks partially paid maternity leave in order to bond with your newborn (or adopted or foster) baby. This is provided you have worked at least 20 weeks and earned at least $220 per week or earned at least $11,000 during the base year. The base year is the four calendar quarters that span approximately a year and half before your leave begins. For a more comprehensive explanation, visit myleavebenefits.nj.gov and click “How Much I Need to Earn to Qualify.”
You may also be eligible for partially paid leave under New Jersey’s Temporary Disabilities Insurance (TDI). This covers you if you miss work up to the delivery date or your healthcare provider declares you unable to work. TDI benefits can be paid up to four weeks prior to the expected delivery date and six weeks afterward. C-section deliveries usually require an additional eight weeks. If you have postpartum or pregnancy complications, you can get TDI for a longer time. Your medical provider will determine the length.
You might be eligible for both FLI and TDI, as they are different. However, you cannot receive benefits from both programs at the same time. A doctor must signify that you are unable to perform your job because of pregnancy or other medical conditions in order to receive TDI.
How much will I be paid?
You may be eligible for your employer’s maternity-pay plan if it is better than the state’s. Even if your employer does not offer paid leave, or if it is a small amount, you might be able to get 85% of your weekly wage under FLI and TDI during your maternity leave. You may be eligible for a lower amount of your salary if you are a high-earner.
Is my job protected while I’m out?
NJFLA is here to help. All large companies in New Jersey are required to provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave for employees during any 24-month period. This is to help with the care of a sick relative or baby-bonding. NJFLA also covers employees of companies with 30 or more global workers. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides 12 weeks of job protection, requires that 50 employees live within 75 miles from your worksite.
Note that NJFLA kicks into effect once your baby is born. FMLA provides job protection throughout your pregnancy and recovery. The NJ Division of Civil Rights has more information.
Do I need to take my leave all at once?
FLI can be taken intermittently if you notify your employer in advance.
Can I use only part of the benefit or is it all or nothing?
You can still use part of the benefit if you need to return to work after your full leave. If you are unable to afford the full FLI benefit, or if your monthly pay is less than 85%, this might be an option. You can keep the rest of your leave-in reserve for 12 months after your baby is born, your adoption, foster placement, or birth. This could be useful for another purpose, like if you have a family member who is seriously ill.
Is it possible for my spouse to take paternity leave?
Yes, absolutely. The law is gender-neutral so dads can also take leave. Two parents working for the same company can be entitled to 12 weeks job-protected and 12 weeks each of FLI payments.
What if I adopt, foster or use a surrogate?
Does it cover anything besides welcoming a new child?
Yes. New Jersey law provides for the bonding of children with their parents. It also covers the care of spouses or civil union partners, children of any age, domestic partners, siblings, parent-in-law, and any other person you consider a family with who has a serious condition that requires care.
If my company pays for some portion of leave, does the state law cover the rest up to 100 percent of my salary?
Your employer can choose whether to offer the state’s TDI or FLI plans or a private plan. The private option must be comparable to or better than the state plan. If your employer offers a private plan for maternity leave, you will be covered. Unfortunately, you cannot pool your funds to achieve 100%. The state plan covers 85% of your average weekly earnings and is limited to $881 per week.
Is my leave pay taxed?
FLI is subjected to federal income tax but not state income taxes.
At the end of each calendar year, people taking Family Leave must go to myleavebenefits.nj.gov and download a 1099-G form. The 1099-G shows the New Jersey State Family Leave Insurance benefits (including Family Leave during Unemployment) for the current calendar year. This amount must be reported on federal income taxes returns. There is nothing special to report on state income tax returns about FLI benefits.
What do I have to do to get the money and by when? How am I paid?
You can get an application for TDI or FLI on the state’s dedicated website, myleavebenefits.nj.gov. You should know that if you are approved for TDI for your pregnancy and recovery, the state will mail you a form to start the transition into FLI benefits.
Are there any monetary caps on the benefit annually or during one’s lifetime?
The law allows you to take time off for a couple of years consecutively. The FLI does not have a lifetime limit on the amount you can get reimbursed. NJFLA, on the other hand, limits your job protection to 12 weeks’ leave over a 2-year period.
Do I still receive my benefits while I’m out?
Yes, under NJFLA you can still accrue seniority and benefits if your employer allows for the accrual of other forms. While you are entitled to health insurance benefits while you are away, you will need to continue paying any contributions you normally pay. You won’t be eligible for workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance.
When did it go into effect? If I’ve already given birth, am I entitled to any of it?
New Jersey is a leader in this area, as the law has been in place since 2009. If you were born or adopted within the last year, you can file an FLI claim. Any benefits you are entitled to will end 12 months after your child is born or you place an adoption, surrogate or foster child. After your leave begins, you have a 30-day grace period to file your claim. You could lose your benefits if you fail to submit your claim within the time limit.
How is this paid for?
FLI is financed through payroll deductions. Specifically, 0.28% on the first $138,200 you earn. The maximum annual deduction for 2021 is $386.96. This deduction cannot be waived, and you will have to pay for it for the rest of your life. The good news is that you can still contribute to the benefit with your non-parent friends. It works in a similar way to property taxes. Even though your children might not attend public school, or you may not have children, you still need to contribute to the school system.
If I have further questions, where can I go?
Your company’s Human Resources department is the best place to begin. You can still tell your employer about the new addition if you aren’t ready. Check out the employee handbook. For more information about Temporary Disability Insurance and Family Leave Insurance, visit the employee handbook. Check out the website, myleavebenefits.nj.gov. For more information on NJFLA, visit nj.gov.