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NJ governor signs legislation to modify family leave and disability benefits in response to COVID-19 pandemic

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into law on Wednesday that expands the state’s temporary disability insurance and family leave insurance programs to provide more workers with access to paid leave benefits during public health emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic.

“No one should have to decide between taking care of themselves or a sick family member and going to work during this pandemic,” Murphy said. “With this new law, we are providing hardworking men and women with the protections that they deserve and ensuring a healthier place to live and work.”

The law expands the definition of a “serious health condition” to allow people to access benefits during a public health emergency if they need to take time off of work because they are diagnosed with, or suspected of exposure to, a communicable disease, or if they need to take care of a family member diagnosed with or suspected of exposure to a communicable disease. The bill also expands New Jersey’s earned sick leave law to permit the use of earned sick time for isolation or quarantine recommended or ordered by a healthcare provider or public health official as a result of suspected exposure to a communicable disease, or to care for a family member who is quarantined. 

“We want to make sure that everyone affected by this history pandemic will be protected through the programs our department offers all New Jerseyans,” New Jersey Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said.