Paid Family Leave Bill Signed by Governor

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed legislation (A2762, now P.L. 2018, c.122) designed to increase the use of the State’s paid family leave insurance law for pregnancy or child birth.

The law will require a family leave insurance application be automatically processed whenever a covered individual applies for temporary disability insurance due to pregnancy or childbirth unless the individual affirmatively opts out of that program.

Family leave insurance will begin immediately after temporary disability benefits end, so that there is no gap in coverage. According to the legislative intent, automatic registration will fast track the existing process preventing delays in payments. It will also increase enrollment in family leave insurance.

The automatic enrollment will apply to those enrolling in the state temporary disability insurance plan, and those enrolling in a private plan which offers both temporary disability and family leave insurance. Private insurers who do not offer family leave insurance will be required to inform those enrolling in temporary disability insurance due to pregnancy or childbirth of how to apply to the state family leave insurance.

Those using the program will be required to provide notification of when they plan to return to work, and if they return to work early. The law will allow individuals a minimum four weeks of benefits before the delivery date and six weeks of benefits after the delivery date, and will allow for a doctor to prescribe more time if necessary.

The law takes effects October 4, 2019.

New Jersey is one of only three states that now have a paid family leave benefit. The others are Rhode Island and California, in addition to the District of Columbia.

Expansion of the state’s paid family leave law was among a number of workplace-related mandates that then gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy campaigned on in 2017 and additional paid family leave bills are pending in both legislative chambers.