Skip to main content
Tell your legislator to say NO to the Governor’s permanent Corporate Transit Fee. SEND A MESSAGE

The Assembly passed an expanded paid family leave bill Thurday that will unequivocally hurt New Jersey’s smallest businesses.

Bill A-5166 (Quijano, D-20; Reynolds-Jackson, D-15; Coughlin, D-19; Moriarty, D-4) requires small employers to comply with the job reinstatement provisions of the New Jersey Family Leave Act, which currently only applies to companies with 30 or more workers. 

Under the terms of the bill, the employee threshold would be lowered to five, with employers required to maintain an absent employee’s benefits, such as group life insurance, health insurance and more while they are on 12 weeks of family leave.

The New Jersey Business & Industry Association has strongly opposed the bill. The Assembly advanced the bill after some debate on Thursday, 44-26. 

“Larger businesses are able to better provide coverage during a worker’s prolonged absence,” NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Elissa Frank said in a statement. “Most smaller businesses, however, are not financially equipped to bear the brunt of increased employee absenteeism and will likely experience higher labor costs resulting from the retaining and training of substitute workers. 

“Anyone who votes yes for this bill cannot credibly state that they support New Jersey small businesses. It simply, and unfortunately, adds yet another major burden to our mom-and-pops, in particular. And it further justifies New Jersey’s reputation as being one of the most unfriendly states in the nation for small business.” 

The bill also extends reinstatement rights to all recipients of Family Leave Insurance (FLI) benefits, a separate partial income replacement program which currently does not guarantee job reinstatement.  

As a result, employees who are denied reinstatement upon returning from a period of paid leave will have a common law right of action against their employer, and small businesses will bear the cost of defending those claims, Frank said.   

“These litigation costs can be unduly burdensome, especially for small businesses who may be unable to restore an employee to employment,” Frank said.  

NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Christopher Emigholz also noted that the new Temporary Workers Bill of Rights law, which took effect in August and was fought against by NJBIA, also makes it that much more challenging for employers to hire temporary workers.  

“There is a certain irony not lost on us that supporters of this bill are now urging small businesses to use temp workers, when many of those same supporters voted yes for a law that just about makes it impossible for businesses to use temp workers,” Emigholz said. 

“We also note in their support to extend the Corporate Business Tax surtax, progressive groups qualify that the surtax extension won’t hurt mom-and-pops – as if they’re really concerned for our smallest businesses. Their support of this expansion of family leave reveals their only truth, which is to tax and burden New Jersey businesses of all sizes as much as possible without any regard.”