The New Jersey Assembly recently missed the opportunity to meaningfully reform the state’s paid family leave program — known as New Jersey family leave insurance (FLI). In passing A5166, the Assembly failed to address major barriers involving job protection that keep more than 1 million New Jerseyans from accessing paid family leave.
That’s 1 million state residents unable to take time from work to care for loved ones such as a newborn child or dying parent or spouse recovering from surgery, without risking the loss of their jobs. Many of these directly affected are low-income workers, women employees, and workforces holding multiple jobs. All New Jersey employees pay into the program, but access to it is far from equitable.
Prior to the bill passing the Assembly floor, the NJ Time to Care Coalition and organizational partners urged amendments to the bill, which would expand existing family leave protections to businesses with five or more workers. Repeatedly, concerned voices gave testimonies in front of legislators, pointing out the gaps in the proposed legislation.