Know Your Rights as a Union Member

New Jersey's new law, passed in 2008 and taking effect in 2009, will expand the state's temporary disability insurance (TDI) program to give workers up to six weeks of family leave benefits to care for a seriously ill family member or a newborn or newly adopted child. Workers will receive two-thirds of their weekly salary up to $524 per week.

New Jersey is the third state to provide paid family leave. California began providing family leave benefits in 2004. Washington State passed a paid family leave bill last May. New Jersey workers will began to receive benefits July of 2009.

How Does Paid Family Leave Work?

  • - The program expands NJ's existing Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program to include periods of absence due to temporary family disability.
  • FLI is 100% employee-funded through small payroll deductions from employees (no more than 64 cents per week)
  • All NJ workers who contribute to the program will be able to draw benefits starting July 1, 2009.
  • Employees who utilize the program receive 2/3rds of their normal pay, for up to 6 weeks, capped at $524 for 2008, similar to NJ's TDI and Unemployment Insurance programs.
  • Employees taking family leave must submit document from a doctor to their employer certifying that their family member is seriously ill.
  • Small businesses with less than 50 employees are exempt from the paid family leave insurance program. NJ public employees in state and local government are included under this program and will be eligible for its benefits.

The NJ state PEOSH act protects public employees so they can work in an environment free from safety and health hazards. Under the 1984 New Jersey Occupational Safety and Health Act, the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services investigates complaints related to health hazards in the workplace while the NJ Department of Labor investigates complaints related to safety hazards. 

NJ Dept. of Labor PEOSH

The NJ Dept. of Labor PEOSH program handles workplace safety complaints.

NJ Dept. of Health PEOSH

The NJ Dept. of Health handles workplace health complaints.

FMLA is a federal law that allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. The leave can be taken for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child, the care of a family member with a serious health condition or the employee's own serious health condition. The purpose of FMLA is to enable employees to more easily balance the obligations of work and family without being disciplined or losing their job.

Who is Covered by FMLA

 

  • Private Sector: Employers with 50 or more employees on each working day for at least 20 weeks during the current or previous year.
  • Public Sector: Federal government, its agencies, and US Postal Service·State government, agencies (including schools) and political subdivisions

Situations Covered by FMLA Leave

  • Birth of a child, adoption of foster care
  • Care of a spouse, child or parent with serious health condition
  • Employee's own serious health condition involving any of the following...
    • inpatient care in a medical facility or subsequent treatment for such inpatient care
    • inpatient care in a medical facility or subsequent treatment for such inpatient care
    • incapacity requiring more than 3 days of absence from work
    • incapacity or treatment due to a chronic health condition (e.g. asthma, epilepsy)
    • any period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition which may not be effectively treated (e.g. Alzheimer's Disease)
    • any period of absence to receive multiple treatments either for reconstructive surgery or which would result in at least 3 consecutive days of absence without such medical intervention 

In order to be eligible for FMLA, and Employee must...

  • Have 12 months of service at the time leave begins.
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours within the last 12 months immediately preceding the begin of leave.
  • Work at a site where there are 50 or more employees of the same employer.

Intermittent Leave Options

FMLA may be taken in separate blocks of time. It may be scheduled in periods as brief as one hour to blocks of several weeks. The employee may use FMLA leave to reduce their hours per day or week (e.g. may need to go from 8 hours per day to 6 hours per day). 

Is the FMLA Paid or Unpaid Leave Time?

The FMLA is not a "bank" of leave time that you can use like sick or vacation leave. FMLA does not provide paid leave - your paid leave benefits will be covered by your contract or other law.

You can choose to take your own paid leave (sick, vacation, disability, personal leave) to care for yourself or an injured/ill family member. FMLA provides security to you during that leave and for extended unpaid leave.

Who Decides if the Leave is Covered by FMLA?

The FMLA is not a "bank" of leave time that you can use like sick or vacation leave. FMLA does not provide paid leave - your paid leave benefits will be covered by your contract or other law.

Weingarten Statement

Named after a U.S. Supreme Court case, Weingarten Rights give you the right to union representation whenever you are in a meeting or interview with management where disciplinary action may result.

In such cases, you should ask for a union representative to attend the meeting with you. A representative can be a shop steward or a staff representative from your Local office.

Do not go into the meeting alone unless you are absolutely sure that no discipline will result. Call your Staff Representative or Shop Steward as soon as possible.

About CWA 1036

Communications Workers of America Local 1036 represents over 7,000 members and working families in both the public and private sector. Our members excel in a variety of careers working for the State of NJ, the NJ Judiciary, county and municipal government, and the health care industry: blue collar, professionals, administrative, attorneys, scientists, 911 dispatchers, librarians, engineers, nursing home workers, environmental professionals, doctors, and more.

NJ State Contracts

Executive Branch Units
(7/1/2011 - 6/30/2015)


Judiciary Members
(7/1/2012-6/30/2016)

** Contracts require Adobe Acrobat Reader (download)