Washington, D.C. — Today, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed into law a measure that dramatically improves the state’s paid family leave law by doubling the number of weeks of available leave; boosting the weekly monetary benefit amount available to workers; and increasing the amount of leave time and other supports available to survivors of domestic violence and their families. The new law also expands the definition of family to include chosen family—people whose relationships are equivalent to family, even if they are not related by blood or legal ties. New Jersey is now the first state in the nation to offer paid family leave that is inclusive of all families.
Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement on the bill’s passage:
Gov. Phil Murphy’s signing of the nation’s first statewide paid family leave law to include chosen family is a tremendous victory for all New Jersey families. Thanks to the efforts of activists across the state, led by the NJ Time to Care Coalition, residents of New Jersey will now be able to care for all of their loved ones without sacrificing their paychecks.
Nationally, nearly one-third of people report needing to take time off of work to care for their chosen family, whether that is a beloved elderly neighbor, a lifelong best friend, or an old army buddy. Making paid leave available to chosen family is especially important to LGBTQ people and people with disabilities, as they are disproportionately likely to need time off to care for chosen family.
On the heels of New Jersey’s minimum wage increase to $15 per hour and paid sick leave provision for workers, the new paid family leave law shows once again that the Garden State is on the cutting edge of progress.
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