Understanding your rights and obligations can be daunting in the complex labor and employment law world. At Risman & Risman, P.C., we have extensive experience guiding clients through these intricate laws and ensuring their rights are adequately protected. One critical area of legislation that often impacts our clients is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and its New Jersey equivalent, the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA).

Understanding FMLA and NJFLA

FMLA is a federal law that enables eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. These reasons include serious health conditions affecting the employee or a family member, childbirth, adoption, or foster child placement. Employees are entitled to up to 12 work weeks of leave in 12 months.

The NJFLA, meanwhile, is New Jersey’s equivalent state law. The NJFLA also allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave in 24 months, but it only applies for the care of a family member with a serious health condition or for childbirth or adoption. Unlike the FMLA, NJFLA does not cover an employee’s serious health condition.

Both laws apply to employers with a specified number of employees and have specific eligibility requirements for employees, such as working a certain number of hours in the preceding 12 months. If an employer is covered under both laws, an employee’s leave could be covered concurrently.

Real-life Examples

Take this scenario: Jane works full-time in a large corporation. When her father was diagnosed with a severe illness, she needed to take time off work to care for him. In this case, both FMLA and NJFLA would cover Jane’s leave, as the conditions of both laws are met. Jane meets the eligibility criteria for both FMLA and NJFLA, having worked sufficient hours over the preceding 12 months. Jane’s employer is large enough to be protected under both laws.

In contrast, consider John, who also works full-time but recently discovered he has a serious health condition that requires time off for treatment. Here, John’s leave would only be covered under FMLA because NJFLA does not protect an employee’s serious health condition. If John’s employer is covered under FMLA, John would be entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave.

Protection under FMLA and NJFLA

When an employee takes leave under FMLA or NJFLA, their job is protected. Upon their return, they are entitled to be reinstated to their original or equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions. It is unlawful for any employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny exercising any right provided by these laws.

Moreover, these laws prohibit employers from discharging or discriminating against employees for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA or NJFLA. For example, if Jane from our previous scenario were to be demoted or experience a cut in her pay after returning from her leave, she could have a claim under FMLA or NJFLA.

Navigating FMLA and NJFLA with a Skilled Attorney

Determining eligibility and entitlements under FMLA and NJFLA can be a complex process, and understanding the intricate details of these laws is critical for ensuring your rights are protected. An experienced employment attorney can provide crucial guidance and representation in these matters.

The attorneys at Risman & Risman, P.C. are dedicated to helping employees navigate these complex laws and are committed to ensuring our client’s rights are robustly protected under FMLA and NJFLA. Whether you need assistance understanding your rights and obligations or robust legal representation in a dispute, we are here to help.

If you believe your rights under FMLA or NJFLA have been violated or have any questions regarding these laws, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our goal is to ensure you feel confident and informed about your rights, and we’re ready to help you navigate any challenges that may arise in the realm of FMLA and NJFLA. Contact us online or at (212) 233-6400.

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