New Jersey lawmakers eye expanding job-protected family leave to small businesses

Lawmakers advanced a bill Thursday that would expand New Jersey’s Family Leave Act to small businesses with five or more employees, drawing applause from workers’ rights advocates and objections from business groups.

Yarrow Willman-Cole, representing the New Jersey Time to Care Coalition, reminded lawmakers that current law allows job-protected leave only if an employee has worked at a business for at least a year, and at least 1,000 hours in that year.

“This bill does not make any changes to those aspects of eligibility, and that will leave out more low-wage workers of color who are more likely to work for small employers, work part-time jobs, and work for multiple employers or switch jobs more frequently,” Willman-Cole said. “Ensuring universal job protection for New Jersey workers is an issue of equity.”

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