On July 17, 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act (NJ SAFE Act). New Jersey joins 15 states, the District of Columbia, and a handful of local governments in providing victims of domestic violence or sexual assault with the right to take unpaid leave.
The NJ SAFE Act will provide eligible employees with unpaid time off to attend to a variety of matters related to an act of domestic violence or sexual assault committed against:
A family member
A household member
To be eligible for protection under the NJ SAFE Act, an individual must be employed for at least 12 months (there is no requirement that they be consecutive) and for at least 1,000 base hours during the immediately preceding year-long period. Eligible employees are entitled to no more than 20 days of unpaid leave in the 12-month period following any qualifying incident.
If leave is denied, or the employee is the victim of wrongful discrimination or retaliation for requesting leave under the law, New Jersey employers can be sued by their employees.
The NJ SAFE Act will be effective October 1st, 2013.