Can I Take a Leave of Absence in New Jersey?

Posted February 16th, 2024.

Categories: Blog.

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Even with the best-laid plans, life can get in the way. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances arise that weren’t on your agenda, whether it be an accident or illness, or something as joyous as the arrival of a child. That is why it’s vital to have the option to take a leave of absence in case of unexpected events. If you need legal assistance regarding your employer, reach out to a skilled employment law attorney in Camden County, NJ.

What is a Leave of Absence?

If you need to spend extended periods away from your job for various reasons, it’s considered a leave of absence. Leaves are different from paid time off or taking vacation days.

Leaves of absence in the United States are a federal right for qualifying employees under the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act). The act states that employees who meet the requirements may take up to 12 weeks of leave during a 12-month period. Under the FMLA your employment status is protected. When you return to work you are to be reinstated to your position or an equivalent role.

How Can I Take Leave in New Jersey?

There are multiple ways to take a leave of absence in New Jersey.


Under the FMLA you can take leave if you are a full-time or part-time employee who has worked for the company for 12 months or more, worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the past 12 months, and works at a company located within 75 miles of 50 or more employees.

Valid reasons to take leave under the FMLA include the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child, the development of a serious health condition in the employee, care for a sick immediate family member, and military caregiver leave.


The NJFLA (New Jersey Family Leave Act) is a state-regulated law similar to the FMLA. Requirements for the NJFLA indicate that the employee must:

  • Work for a state or local government agency or a company with 30 or more employees worldwide
  • Have worked at the company for at least 12 months
  • Have worked at least 1,000 hours over the past 12 months

Valid reasons to take leave through the NJFLA include the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child, caring for a sick immediate family member or someone who is equivalent to family, and taking care of a child during a state of emergency.

How Do the FMLA and NJFLA Differ?

The main differences between the NJFLA and the FMLA are as follows.

  • Through the NJFLA you can take 12 weeks of leave throughout 24 months, as opposed to the FMLA’s 12-month period.
  • You cannot use NJFLA leave for your own health conditions.

The benefit of working in a state that has its own leave law is that you can utilize both acts. In some cases, you may be able to take FMLA leave and NJFLA leave during the same 12-month period. You may choose to utilize FMLA time for your own conditions if needed, and NJFLA time to care for a child or relative.

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