New Jersey Leave Laws

April 11th 2024

The taking of leave is important for the well-being of employees. As a result, there are a number of laws outlining the entitlements that employers need to be aware of when it comes to providing leave for their staff members.

This article explores the leave laws in New Jersey, including the various categories of leave available to employees.

In New Jersey there are two types of leave: mandatory and non-mandatory; each with specific guidelines and requirements. The laws may have different requirements for those working either in the public or private sector.

This Article Covers

New Jersey Required Leave
New Jersey Non-Required Leave

New Jersey Required Leave

As dictated by leave laws, employers in New Jersey are required to grant their employees certain types of leave for specific situations. The types of mandatory leave include:

1. Sick Leave

  • Eligibility: Full-time, part-time, or temporary employees in New Jersey can accumulate paid sick leave. Sick leave can only be taken after 120 days of employment.  However, certain employees are not eligible, including construction workers who are under union contracts, per diem (by the day) health care workers, public employees who have full pay sick leave provided under New Jersey law, and independent contractors.
  • Duration: One hour of sick leave can be earned for every thirty hours worked. There is a maximum of 40 hours per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Employees are permitted to use this leave for health problems.

2. Family Leave

  • Eligibility: The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) permits qualified employees to take leave. This is only available to those working for companies that have 30 or more employees. Workers must have been employed by their company for at least one year and have worked at least 1,000 hours during the previous year.
  • Duration: Up to 12 weeks over a course of 24 months with the NJFLA. Up to 12 weeks per 12 months with the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Reasons include caring for a newborn child, adopting a child, fostering a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. For employees who need time off for their own medical condition, the FMLA can be utilized.

3. Holiday Leave (public employers)

  • Eligibility: All public employees in state offices will receive paid days off on legal holidays.
  • Duration: The duration of the legal holiday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, leave on the Monday must be given as a substitute. Friday must be given as a substitute for a holiday falling on a Saturday.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: The occurrence of legal holidays, with the exception of Lincoln’s Birthday when offices must remain open.

The official federal holidays in the table below are observed in New Jersey:

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Presidents’ Day Third Monday in February
Good Friday 29 March
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Juneteenth 21 June
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

4. Vacation Leave (public employers)

  • Eligibility: Full-time state employees can accumulate vacation leave days based on years of continuous service.
  • Duration: Duration of leave depends on the years of service. For 1 to 5 years of service, 12 working days can be accrued. For 5 to 12 years, up to 15 working days of vacation leave can be taken. Continuous service of 12 to 20 years results in up to 20 working days of leave. Finally, for over 20 years of service as a state employee, 25 working days of vacation leave can be accumulated.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Vacation leave can be utilised in any way by an employee.

5. Jury Duty Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees summoned for jury duty are allowed to take time off for this. This applies to those working for the state or for a private company.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the jury service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: When summoned by the court to fulfil jury duties.
  • Pay: Only state employees receive payment for their time serving on a jury.

6. Military Leave

  • Eligibility: All employers in New Jersey must allow their employees to take a leave of absence for military service without fear of retaliation. This is required by law, specifically the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Employees are entitled to have their previous job, salary, and benefits restored upon completion of service.
  • Duration: Up to 5 years of service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To fulfil military service requirements.

7. Voting Leave (public employers)

  • Eligibility: All state employees can receive paid time off to vote.
  • Duration: Up to 2 hours.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: If you need time to vote in an election.

8. Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

  • Eligibility: The New Jersey SAFE Act provides unpaid leave for employees who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. To be eligible, the employee must have worked at least 1,000 hours in the past 12 months and be employed by a company with at least 25 employees.
  • Duration: Up to 20 days per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Leave can be used for those who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. Additionally, an employee can take leave if their spouse, child, or partner has been a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.

9. Volunteering Leave

  • Eligibility: Any state employee who is a certified disaster service volunteer with the American Red Cross.
  • Duration: Up to 10 workdays of paid leave and an additional 10 workdays of unpaid leave each year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: If one’s services are required by the Red Cross during a disaster.
  • Pay: For paid leave, the employee will receive their regular rate of pay for the hours absent from work.

New Jersey Non-Required Leave

Although not mandated by law, some employers in New Jersey offer other leave benefits to their employees. Optional types of leave include:

1. Holiday Leave (private employers)

In New Jersey, private employees are not given days off on legal holidays and their employers are not required to pay them extra for working on a holiday.

2. Vacation Leave (private employers)

Private employers in New Jersey are not required by law to offer vacation benefits, whether paid or unpaid, to their employees. Many choose to do so as part of their individual company policies.

3. Bereavement Leave

If an employee needs to take time off to grieve or attend a memorial service for their loved one, this kind of leave is available. Yet, in New Jersey, offering staff bereavement leave is not mandatory for employers.

4. Voting Leave (private employers)

Currently, private employers are not legally required by either state or federal law to give their employees time off to vote, regardless of whether it’s compensated or not.

If you want to know more about the entitlements of employees in New Jersey, you can read our guides on Your rights as a salaried employee in New Jersey, and Your rights as an hourly employee in New Jersey. You can also learn more about New Jersey Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

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