New Jersey Family Leave Insurance & Temporary Disability Benefits

Group Benefits
Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) laws are expanding in states across the country. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 guarantees eligible employees up to 12 weeks of leave without the threat of losing their benefits or their job. But the FMLA’s protection is limited: it assures only unpaid leave, which many workers can’t afford, and applies only to businesses with 50 or more employees.
 
New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (NJ FLI) was signed into law in 2008 extending the benefits of New Jersey Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI.) A major amendment was signed into law in February 2019, affecting both FLI and TDI benefits, for both state and private plans.
 
These changes redefine who is eligible; increase the payout from the state program and, in many cases, double the amount of time away from work to which an employee is entitled. Employers are likely to have to withhold more money from employees’ paychecks to help fund these increased benefits.
 
Knowing how to effectively comply with shifting mandated requirements may feel overwhelming. But we are here to help.
 
This is an ongoing series of updates on Paid Family and Medical Leave developments – so you can be prepared to fulfill all mandated requirements. This release features highlights for the state of New Jersey, which just revamped its paid leave program.
 
With a few exceptions, all employers are required to participate in the state program (by default), or choose to opt out of the state program via a state-approved private plan. The private plan can be either employer-funded or fully insured by an approved carrier. Almost all employees are eligible to receive benefits.
 
Here’s what you need to know about the changes to NJ FLI and NJ TDI – referred to as Temporary Disability Benefits (NJ TDB) in the private sector.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Bond with a newborn (including surrogate) or newly placed child through adoption or foster care under NJ FLI.
  • Provide care for a seriously ill or injured family member under NJ FLI. After the February 2019 amendment, this now includes anyone related by blood and any person with whom the employee shows to have the equivalent of a family relationship. 
  • Recover from a personal injury or illness under NJ TDB.
  • An employee is allowed to take NJ FLI for medical attention, counseling or legal assistance or proceedings if they themselves or a family member is a victim of domestic or sexual violence.
Employees may be entitled to one of the following leaves under NJ FLI each year:
 
  • Six consecutive weeks of Paid Family Leave. Twelve weeks beginning 7/1/2020.
  • Forty-two days of intermittent Paid Family Leave. Fifty-six days beginning 7/1/2020.
  • In 2019, the benefit for both NJ TDB and NJ FLI is 66 2/3 percent of the Average Weekly Wage (AWW) to a maximum of $650 a week. The benefit moves to 85% of the AWW up to a maximum of 70% of the statewide weekly wage starting in July 2020. (In 2019 that’s $860 a week.)
  • After the February 2019 amendment, NJ TDB and NJ FLI are job protected leaves.
To qualify for benefits through the state program, the employee needs to have paid through their employer into the program and must meet minimum earnings requirements.
 
In 2019, employees are required to have worked at least 20 weeks (making at least $172 a week) or must have earned at least $8,600 in the previous 12 months prior to the first day of Temporary Disability Leave or Paid Family Leave.
 
The requirements may change each year.
 
Private plans are not required to have eligibility rules and may be funded by the employer.
All private and governmental employers subject to the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law are required to provide Paid Family Leave coverage.
NJ FLI
  • Funded by employee payroll deductions. Employers do not contribute to the program.
  • In 2019, employees contribute 0.08 percent of the taxable wage base – the first $34,400 in covered wages earned during the calendar year – with a maximum NJ FLI deduction of $27.52.
  • The taxable wage base changes each year.
NJ TDB
  • Funded by both employers and employees.
  • In 2019, employees contribute 0.17 percent of the taxable wage base – the first $34,400 in covered wages earned during the calendar year – with a maximum NJ TDB deduction of $58.48.
  • The taxable wage base will change each year.
Employers are responsible for taking the employee contribution from workers’ weekly wages and remitting it to the state for the state-run NJ FLI and NJ TDB program.
 
Workers will notice higher payroll deductions for both programs in January 2020. The exact percentage is based on average stage wages for the prior year, so the amount of this increase hasn't yet been determined. Release expected around July-September timeframe.
NJ TDB and NJ FLI allow employers to choose a private plan. An employer can opt out of the state fund for NJ TDB, NJ FLI, or both. All private plans must be approved by the Division of Temporary Disability Insurance.
 
The Hartford is currently licensed to provide Temporary Disability Benefits coverage in New Jersey. Our company may be used to fully-insure a private NJ TDB plan, or to provide Administrative Services Only (ASO) for an approved NJ TDB self-funded private plan. At this time, we do not offer a fully-insured replacement or administrative services for the state Paid Family Leave program. If The Hartford insures or administers your NJ TDB benefit, maternity claimants will be notified that they may be eligible for NJ FLI. Our leave management analyst will work with your employees and provide them with the contact information for the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development so the employee can file a NJ FLI claim with the state.
 
The February 2019 amendment removed a requirement that private sector employees had to approve their employer opting out of the state program and into a private plan. Some unions may still require a vote.
Please reach out to your representative at The Hartford for additional information or have an employee benefits representative from The Hartford contact you.
 
 
7515 NS 06/19
 
Temporary Disability Form Series includes GBD-1850, or state equivalent.
This informational material is subject to change as we continue to receive guidance from each state. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for legal compliance with respect to your business practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute our undertaking on your behalf, or for the benefit of others, to determine or warrant that your business operations are in compliance with any law, rule, or regulation. Those seeking resolution of specific legal or business issues, questions, or concerns regarding this topic should consult their own attorney or business advisors.
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