Most New Jersey employers subject to the provisions of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) are also subject to NJ TDB law and are required to provide coverages for their employees working in NJ.   There are some employment classes considered  exempt from Unemployment Compensation Coverage and likewise  be exempt from the coverage requirements under NJ TDB law.  Please refer to the NJ DOL Employer Handbook on the state website for more details on  Exempt Employment

To be eligible for TDB or FLI , a worker must  have paid into the program  through their employer and meet the minimum gross earnings requirements. 

In  2021, a worker must have worked 20 weeks earning at least $220 weekly, or have earned a combined total of $11,000 in what is called a “base year.”

In  2020, a worker must have worked 20 weeks earning at least $200 weekly, or have earned a combined total of $10,000 in what is called a “base year.”

The base year is defined as the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the start of a claim. The wages earned during the base year will determine the weekly benefits that a worker is eligible to receive. For example: If an employee filed a claim on July 1, 2020, their base year is April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020.

For quick reference, use the chart below to help you understand the base year period that will be used to calculate the weekly benefit based on when the claim began:

Claim began:

Base Year -  Earnings from this period will be used to determine benefit

3rd Quarter 2020

(July, August, September)

April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020

4th Quarter 2020

(October, November, December

July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020

1st Quarter 2021

(January, February, March)

October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020

2nd Quarter 2021

(April, May, June)

January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020

NJ Temporary Disability Benefits (TDB) provides partial wage replacement to eligible employees who suffer from their own non-work-related injury, illness, or other disability, including pregnancy. TDB benefits are available to most New Jersey workers with the exception of federal government employees, out of state employees and select exempt employment classes. 

Benefit provisions for 2021 -

  • Weekly Benefit -
    • 85% of employee’s average weekly wage up to a maximum of $903 per week.
  • Benefit Duration –  The lesser of 26 weeks times the weekly benefit or one-third of the total wages paid to the claimant during the base year.
  • Waiting Period - Seven (7) calendar days, begins on the 8th day of accident or illness. However, if disability extends beyond three consecutive weeks, employee is paid for those initial seven days.
  • Maximum Employee Contribution Rate - 0.47% of the employee’s covered wages during the calendar year, up to the annual maximum of $649.54.
  • Taxable Wage Base Maximum for Employee Contributions -  $138,200
  • Taxable Wage Base Maximum for Employer Contributions -  $36,200

 

Benefit provisions for 2020 -

  • Weekly Benefit -
    • January  1 to June 30 – 66.66%  of employee’s average weekly wage up to a maximum of $667 per week.
    • July 1 to December 31 – 85% of employee’s average weekly wage up to a maximum of $881 per week.
  • Benefit Duration –  The lesser of 26 weeks times the weekly benefit or one-third of the total wages paid to the claimant during the base year.
  • Waiting Period - Seven (7) calendar days, begins on the 8th day of accident or illness. However, if disability extends beyond three consecutive weeks,  employee is paid for those initial seven days.
  • Maximum Employee Contribution Rate - 0.26% of the employee’s covered wages during the calendar year, up to the annual maximum of $350.74.
  • Taxable Wage Base Maximum for Employee Contributions -  $134,900
  • Taxable Wage Base Maximum for Employer Contributions -  $35,300

FLI provides eligible workers with paid time off to bond with a newborn, a newly adopted child, a recently placed foster child, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition who is unable to care for themselves. Workers can collect Family Leave Insurance benefits for a maximum of twelve weeks (56 days) in a 12-month period.  The same covered employer and employee eligibility requirements for NJ TDB benefits apply to NJ FLI benefits.

Benefit provisions for 2021 - 

  • Weekly Benefit - 
    • 85% of employee’s average weekly wage up to a maximum of $903 per week.
  • Benefit Duration – 
    • Twelve (12) weeks or 56 days for intermittent leaves
  • Waiting Period -  No waiting period
  • Maximum Employee Contribution Rate - 0.28% of the employee’s covered wages during the calendar year, up to the annual maximum of $386.96
  • Taxable Wage Base Maximum for Employee Contributions -  $138,200
  • Taxable Wage Base Maximum for Employer Contributions -  $36,200

 

Benefit provisions for 2020 -

  • Weekly Benefit -
    • January  1 to June 30 – 66.66%  of employee’s average weekly wage up to a maximum of $667 per week.
    • July 1 to December 31 – 85% of employee’s average weekly wage up to a maximum of $881 per week.
  • Benefit Duration – 
    • Prior to July 1 – Six(6) weeks or 42 days for Intermittent leaves
    • Effective July -  Twelve (12) weeks or 56 days for intermittent leaves
  • Waiting Period -  No waiting period
  • Maximum Employee Contribution Rate - 0.16% of the employee’s covered wages during the calendar year, up to the annual maximum of $215.84
  • Taxable Wage Base Maximum for Employee Contributions -  $134,900
  • Taxable Wage Base Maximum for Employer Contributions -  $35,300

Under NJ TDB law, covered employers have the option to choose how to provide both the NJ TDB and  NJ FLI  state mandated coverages to their employees. An employer can choose to provide  one or both coverages through the  state administered plan,  or can choose to provide the coverage (s) through a private plan instead.

The private plan may be self-insured (meaning the plan is funded by the employer itself), or fully insured (meaning the plan is provided through a licensed and approved insurance company or through a union welfare fund).  All private plans must be approved by the NJ State Division of Temporary Disability Insurance, Private Plan Operations.  Private plans must offer at least the same benefit provisions as the state plan. Benefit provisions are dictated by the state and are subject to change annually. 

Guardian is currently licensed and approved to provide a fully insured Temporary Disability Benefits (TDB) coverage in New Jersey.  We do not offer  Family Leave Insurance (FLI) coverage at this time.

Use this timeline to learn of important changes in TDB and FLI  in 2020.

January 1, 2020 - Employee rates and taxable wage base maximum increases for both TDB and FLI.

March 25, 2020 - TDB law amended to expand illness definition to include illness related to COVID-19 and waiting period removed on COVID-19 related disability claims.

May 20, 2020 - TDB waiting period for disability claims related to organ and bone marrow donations is removed, allowing for benefits to be paid as of day one of the disability.  Employees are also extended job protection.

June 17, 2020 - TDB Partial Disability Benefit option becomes available, allowing employees to return to work on a reduced schedule and collect partial disability benefits for up to 12 weeks. Employees are eligible after being total disability for 7 calendar  days and receiving permission from their employer and a medical professional.  

July 1, 2020 - TDB and FLI weekly benefit amount percentage increases from 66.67% to 85% of an employee’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum benefit of $881 per week.

FLI maximum benefit duration will increase from 6 weeks to 12 weeks of paid leave in a 12-month period. For family leave used intermittently, the maximum allowable days will increase from the current 42 days to 56 days.

FLI - Employees with more than one job will have the option to take leave from one employer while continuing to work for another. Their weekly benefit will be calculated based only on the wages from the employment from which they are taking  leave.

January 1, 2021 - The employee contribution rate for both TDB and FLI increases significantly.

For more details, visit the state of New Jersey’s Division of Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance website.

  • Educate yourself and your administrative teams on the laws concerning paid family leave and temporary disability benefit changes and employer requirements.
  • Consult with your payroll department and/or payroll vendor to confirm it is prepared to update the payroll system to properly administer the appropriate payroll deductions for both TDB and FLI  as dictated by the State for each calendar year. As the employer, you are responsible to ensure the correct employee deductions are applied, per the state guidance.   
  • Update your current company leave policies/employee handbooks to reflect the updated NJ state mandated benefit provisions.
  • Advise your employees of the updated benefit provisions and inform them of their updated payroll deduction rate for these benefits.

Guardian has a private plan option for temporary disability coverage to assist covered employers in meeting their regulatory obligation for their New Jersey covered employees. We do not offer  Family Leave Insurance (FLI) coverage at this time.

Our product offering is fully-insured, state-approved and competitively priced. Our digital capabilities can make administration easier – with online claims submission and claims status as well as quarterly and year-end tax reports.

You can count on:

  • Assistance with adjusting Short Term Disability (STD) and Long Term Disability (LTD) plan
    designs to integrate with a state mandated paid leave plan.
  • A single point-of-contact for disability claims inquiries.
  • Experienced claims management by tenured professionals.
  • Updates on new regulations and ongoing guidance to keep you compliant.

Please contact your Guardian Group Sales Consultant or broker for quoting requirements and additional information concerning a NJ TDB private plan option through Guardian.

Guardian has provided employers with statutory disability plans for more than a decade, taking a consultative approach to bring resources together for successful PFML plan implementation and management, no matter the level of complexity. Our management of PFML plans helps ensure that any Human Resources team can meet the challenge of efficiently managing employee leaves while easing administrative burden and enhancing compliance.  

Our Guardian AbsenceWorks® can help reduce the administrative burden and enhance compliance with the integrated management of STD and LTD benefits, state and federal family medical leaves, and company leaves. Available to companies with 50 or more employees, employers can choose from a variety of plans and service options, including ADA support.  Effective employee leave management is key to ensuring your business remains compliant with state laws, helping to avoid of costly fines. 

To learn more about Guardian leave management services reach out to your Guardian Group Sales Consultant or broker.

Disclaimer

All terms of coverage, including benefits, eligibility, coverage limitations and exclusions under Guardian’s New Jersey Temporary Disability benefits (TDB) plan will comply with NJ TDB  law and regulations.   Any optional riders and/or features which may be available may incur additional costs.  Plan documents are the final arbiter of coverage.  Guardian policy number TDB GP-1-TDB-01.

Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for an do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents, and employees do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation.

Guardian® is a registered trademark of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. ©Copyright 2020 The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.

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