TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz that would streamline current policy regarding the application for temporary disability leave insurance and family leave insurance cleared the Senate Labor Committee today.
“The last thing someone having a child needs to worry about is a gap in insurance coverage while on leave,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Simplifying this process will allow new and expecting parents to focus on their family, and taking care of themselves and their newborn, rather than worrying about paperwork or benefits.”
The bill, S-1317, would require an application for family leave insurance to automatically be processed whenever an individual applies for temporary disability insurance due to pregnancy or childbirth, unless the individual opts out. Family leave insurance would begin immediately after temporary disability benefits end, so that there is no gap in coverage. Automatic registration will fast track the existing process preventing delays in payments. It would also increase enrollment in family leave insurance, a highly valuable but underused program.
Those using the program would be required to provide notification when they plan to return to work, and if they return to work early. The bill would allow individuals four weeks of benefits before the delivery date and six weeks of benefits after the delivery date, and would allow for a doctor to prescribe more time if necessary.
This bill is a part of a series of reforms to New Jersey’s paid family leave programs to improve efficiency.
With a vote of 5-0 the bill leaves the Senate Labor Committee and heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.