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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.



Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

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 his…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation 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 his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

Carly Skarbnik Meredith Attorney Photo
Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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