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LGBT Workers Are Entitled to New Jersey Family Leave Benefits

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides protections for workers who need to take unpaid leave to care for ill or injured family members. The FMLA also guarantees unpaid leave for new parents, including adoptive parents.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division has ruled that, as of August 2013, people in same-sex marriages are entitled to the protections provided by the FMLA. In October 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state must recognize same-sex marriages. The combination of those two facts opens a range of options for New Jerseyans:

  • The FMLA allows a new parent to work on a part-time schedule for up to 10 weeks, in addition to a 12-week leave of absence. Whether the employee is paid during the leave is up to the employer, but the policies must be applied equally to all employees — regardless of whether they are same-sex or opposite-sex parents.
  • Because of the FMLA ruling, members of legally married same-sex couples who live in New Jersey can expect equal benefits from their employers, even if they work in Pennsylvania or some other state where same-sex marriages are not legally sanctioned.
  • Exigency rules that apply to members of the U.S. armed forces — allowing temporary leave because of a spouse’s health problems, for example — now apply to all legally married couples, including those whose same-sex marriages are now sanctioned in New Jersey.

In short, all employee benefits must apply equally to opposite-sex and same-sex couples, regardless of where the couple lives or works. All that matters is whether they are legally married.

If your employer fails to recognize your rights, speak with an employment attorney.

 

 

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Neil H. Deutsch
Senior Partner

About Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

About Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey's premiere practitioners of employment and civil litigation. Mr. Atkins has also been included in the Thomson Reuters list of New Jersey Super Lawyers* in Employment Litigation since 2005. Mr. Atkins believes employees have rights that should be aggressively pursued when an employer has wrongfully dealt…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt
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About Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations such as discrimination, retaliation, and whistle blowing matters.  He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a…

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Robert J. Pantina
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About Robert J. Pantina joined the firm in 2018. Mr. Pantina received his B.A. from Rider University in 2008. He received his J.D. from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 2017. While in law school, Mr. Pantina interned for the Hon. Bonnie J. Mizdol, Assignment Judge of the Superior Court of…

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Diane Englander Peyser
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About Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins, PC in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins, PC, Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination, disability discrimination, FMLA, New…

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