New Law in New Jersey: Paid Sick Leave

Across New Jersey more than 1 million family caregivers help their parents, spouses and other loved ones so they can remain at home – where they want to be. The majority of family caregivers also juggle full or part-time jobs while caregiving.

AARP advocated for passage of the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act and, on October 29, 2018, New Jersey became the 10th state in the nation to require employers to provide paid sick leave – a lifesaver for working caregivers in our state.

Here’s what you need to know:

 

  1. Paid sick leave can be used to care for yourself or a loved one – including someone related by blood, marriage, civil union, or someone whose relationship is like family.
  2. Leave can be used for many circumstances, including when a family member is sick, injured, or has a medical appointment.
  3. Most NJ workers are eligible to earn up to 5 sick days per year – an hour for every 30 hours you work, up to a total of 40 hours per year.

For more information about the law and your rights as a New Jersey worker, visit the New Jersey Department of Labor website.

3 Things You Need to Know – a printable reference card for New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Law.


AARP Works to Expand Family Leave Insurance

Nearly ten years ago, New Jersey became the second state in the nation to implement the New Jersey Family Leave Insurance program, a law giving Garden State workers access to paid family leave to allow them the opportunity to take time off from work to bond with a new child or care for a sick family member.  Every New Jersey worker pays a modest fee to cover the cost of this insurance program.  However, after nearly a decade of operation, only about 1% of eligible individuals have taken advantage of the benefit. That is why AARP New Jersey is pursuing legislation to update the law so that more family caregivers can utilize the program.

The bill, (S2528/A3975) updates the Family Leave Act law in several critical ways, including:

  • Increasing the time a caregiver can take from 6 weeks to 12 week
  • Increasing the wage replacement a caregiver can receive from 66.7% of the workers average weekly wage up to 85%, subject to a maximum of 70% of the state wide average weekly wage.
  • Providing job protection for people working at businesses with 30 or more employees, as opposed to businesses with 50 or more employee
  • Expanding the definition of family to allow caregivers to provide care for individuals who are the equivalent of family
  • Increasing public awareness by providing $1.2 million in funding for outreach and education

Workplace flexibility and supports for working family caregivers are critical to ensuring that employees can balance their responsibilities at home and on the job. There are 1.1 million caregivers in New Jersey who provide over $13 billion in unpaid care every year, helping their loved ones to remain at home where they want to be.

Take Action! Tell your legislators to support the expansion of New Jersey’s Family Leave Act.


New Jersey’s CARE Act

In 2015, New Jersey’s CARE Act went into effect. The CARE Act helps support the 1.1 million family caregivers in the Garden State as their loved ones go into the hospital and transition home. The CARE Act requires hospitals to:

1. Identify a designated family caregiver when a patient is admitted.

2. Notify the caregiver when the patient is to be moved or discharged.

3. Provide the caregiver with adequate care instructions following the patient’s discharge from the hospital.

For many, family caregiving is more than just household chores and rides to the doctor. Family caregivers are often asked to perform medical tasks such as medication changes and wound care – tasks that require adequate preparation and training. The CARE Act helps to ensure that family caregivers get the necessary training before their loved one is discharged home.

Request a free CARE Act wallet card.


New Jersey Caregiving Events

November is National Family Caregivers Month and AARP New Jersey is celebrating by hosting a day of fun and education for Desi caregivers on Saturday, November 17. This lunch and learn event will feature speakers on a variety of topics including financial and community resources and healthcare. We’ll also have Tai Chi and Zumba! If you’re currently a caregiver or you might be one in the future, you won’t want to miss this! The event will be held on Saturday, November 17th from 10:00am – 2:00pm at the FairBridge Hotel in Somerset. Click HERE for more information and to register or call 1-877-926-8300. Lunch and free parking is available.


New Jersey Caregiving Resources

Are you a caregiver in the Garden State? Take advantage of the resources and information below. If you have any questions, please reach out to AARP New Jersey via email or find us on Facebook.