On July 17, 2013, Governor Chris Christie signed into law the “New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act,” (NJ SAFE Act), P.L. 2013, c.82, which provides that certain employees are eligible to receive an unpaid leave of absence – for a period not to exceed 20 days in a 12-month period – to address circumstances resulting from domestic violence or a sexually violent offense.

The law became effective on October 1, 2013 and includes the following provisions:

  •           The employee must work for the employer for at least 12 months and have worked 1,000 hours or more during the preceding 12-month period.
  • Unpaid leave under the NJ SAFE Act must be taken within one year of the incident of domestic violence or sexual assault and may be taken intermittently with employer approval in intervals of no less than one day.
  • The purpose of the law to is allow employees who are assault victims or are caring for family members who are victims to have time to engage in the following activities associated with the incident without fear of losing their jobs: (1) seeking medical attention for, or recovering from, physical or psychological injuries; (2) obtaining services from victim assistance programs; (3) obtaining psychological or other counseling; (4) participating in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocating, or taking other steps to increase the safety of themselves or the victim; (5) seeking legal assistance; and (6) participating in civil or criminal court proceedings related to the incident of domestic or sexual violence.

 

New Jersey law prohibits retaliation against employees for the exercise of rights granted by the Act.

For further details on the qualifying reasons, eligibility criteria, and employers’ and employees’ notice obligations under the Act, please see the NJ SAFE Act poster on the UHR website, under Employee Rights and Responsibilities.

The NJ SAFE Act poster must be displayed in a conspicuous place within the workplace. 

If you have any additional questions about the NJ SAFE Act and other forms of qualified leave that employees may be eligible to take, please do not hesitate to contact your assigned HR consultant for assistance.