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NJ SAFE Act Requires Unpaid Leave For Victims of Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault
Posted 07.29.13
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Michael S. Cohen
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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed into the law the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act (NJ SAFE Act).  The NJ SAFE Act, which will go into effect on October 1, 2013, requires both private and public employers with twenty-five (25) or more employees to provide twenty (20) days of unpaid leave to an employee who is the victim of domestic violence or a sexually violent offense.   The Act also allows an employee to take such leave when the victim of domestic violence or sexually violent offense is the employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or civil union partner.

Under the SAFE Act, an employee may elect, or the employer may require, the employee to take accrued PTO time during the leave.   The new law also contains certain employee notice and documentation requirements and will have an impact on an employee’s FMLA/NJFLA leave.   Accordingly, employers must review and revise their leave of absence policies to maintain compliance with the Act.

Under the Act, individual employees can bring a private cause of action and employers can be fined of $1,000 or up to $2,000 for the first violation and up to $5,000 for any subsequent violation of the Act.  The SAFE Act further prohibits employers from committing or threatening termination, harassment, retaliation or discrimination against any employee who exercises his or her rights under the Act.z

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed into the law the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act (NJ SAFE Act). The NJ SAFE Act, which will go into effect on October 1, 2013, requires both private and public employers with twenty-five (25) or more employees to provide twenty (20) days of unpaid leave to an employee who is the victim of domestic violence or a sexually violent offense. The Act also allows an employee to take such leave when the victim of domestic violence or sexually violent offense is the employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or civil union partner.

Under the SAFE Act, an employee may elect, or the employer may require, the employee to take accrued PTO time during the leave. The new law also contains certain employee notice and documentation requirements and will have an impact on an employee’s FMLA/NJFLA leave. Accordingly, employers must review and revise their leave of absence policies to maintain compliance with the Act.

Under the Act, individual employees can bring a private cause of action and employers can be fined of $1,000 or up to $2,000 for the first violation and up to $5,000 for any subsequent violation of the Act. The SAFE Act further prohibits employers from committing or threatening termination, harassment, retaliation or discrimination against any employee who exercises his or her rights under the Act.

This blog should not be construed as legal advice, as pertaining to specific factual situations or as establishing an attorney-client relationship

 

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About Michael S. Cohen
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Michael S. Cohen concentrates his practice in the areas of employment law training and counseling. Mr. Cohen has trained and counseled employers throughout the country on subjects including harassment prevention; workplace diversity; discipline and discharge; hiring and recruiting practices; performance evaluations; FMLA, ADA and FLSA compliance; leave of absence policies; performance management; workplace privacy; sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace; substance abuse testing; workplace violence; records retention; conducting background checks; teens in the workplace and managing attendance problems.