Yes. In 2009, New Jersey became the third state in the country to pass a law for paid family leave. Many mothers consider taking a leave from their jobs for the birth of a child, but fathers should know that they are also eligible to take paternity leave.
Employees who want to apply for paternity leave under the paid family leave act must meet certain wage requirements. In the 52 weeks preceding the claim they must have either:
- Earned $8,400 in wages, or
- Worked for at least 20 weeks, making at least $168 per week
Leave may be granted for the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. That person can be a spouse or child, civil union partner, or registered domestic partner. Paid family leave cannot be taken for the employee’s own illness. An unpaid leave for medical reasons may be granted for employees covered by the FMLA or the NJFMLA.
An employee who takes paternity leave must do so in the 12 months after the birth or adoption of the child. If the leave is for the birth of a child, the employee or the spouse/partner must be the biological parent of the baby. The leave must be for a period of more than seven consecutive days. Non-consecutive leave days may be taken with the consent of the employer, though each non-consecutive period of leave must be taken in seven day increments. A notice period of 30 days is required before starting leave, otherwise benefits may be reduced by 14 days.
Anyone granted a leave may collect two-thirds of their pay for six weeks. There is a cap for the total amount which in 2016 was a weekly benefit of $615.