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Senate Labor Committee Approves Sweeney/Buono ‘Family Leave’ Bill

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Steve Sweeney and Barbara Buono that would extend Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) leave regulations to allow workers to take time off to care for sick family members, newborn babies and newly adopted children was approved today by the Senate Labor Committee by a vote of 3 to 1.

“California is the only other state in the country that provides family leave time, and their workers only get six weeks,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem, who Chairs the Senate Labor panel. “This legislation would allow New Jersey to remain in the forefront of providing essential benefits to our hard-working residents.”

“Far too many individuals have had to make the tough decision between caring for a loved one and being able to maintain their income. Far too many new mothers and fathers have had to rush back to work after the birth of their child,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex. “These are choices that should never have to be made in the United States and soon they will no longer be choices forced upon New Jersey families.”

The Senators’ bill, S-2249, would authorize up to 12 weeks of paid Family Temporary Disability Leave (family leave) time per year for any insured employee who needs to take time off to care for a seriously ill family member or a newborn or newly adopted child.

Under the legislation, employers would be permitted to require employees to use up to two weeks of vacation time before being eligible for family leave.

Employers would also have to post notification and provide workers a written copy of their rights under the bill’s provisions.

Employees would be required to provide employers with prior notice and a doctor’s note outlining the need for and the estimated duration of the paid leave time.

If the legislation is enacted, workers would be required to contribute to the State Disability Fund 0.1% of their wages, in addition to any monies they already contribute. The money would be deposited into a fund reserved for funding for the Family Leave program.

This legislation now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

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