New Jersey's New Law Requires Unpaid Leave for Victims of Domestic or Sexual Violence

by Proskauer Rose LLP

On July 17, 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed S-2177 – the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act ("NJ SAFE Act") – to require that employers provide unpaid leave to employees affected by domestic or sexual violence. New Jersey joins several states with similar laws, while other states and the U.S. Congress have proposed comparable legislation. New Jersey's new law takes effect on October 1, 2013. This alert discusses its coverage, requirements, and remedies.


The NJ SAFE Act covers all "employers" who employ twenty-five or more employees for each working day over the course of twenty or more weeks in the then current or immediately preceding calendar year. For an "employee" to be covered, he or she must be employed for at least twelve months by an employer and have worked a minimum of one-thousand hours during the immediately preceding twelve-month period.


Under the NJ SAFE Act, an employee who is the victim of domestic or sexual violence[1] may receive a maximum of twenty days[2] of unpaid leave in the twelve months following the incident. The employee also may take leave to assist a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner (hereinafter, "related individual") who is victim to such violence.[3] The twenty-day leave period may be taken intermittently in intervals of no less than one day.

The NJ SAFE Act specifically provides that an employee may take leave to:

  • Seek medical attention for, or recover from, injuries caused by domestic or sexual violence to the employee or a related individual;

  • Obtain services from a victim services organization for the employee or a related individual;

  • Receive psychological or other counseling for the employee or a related individual;

  • Engage in activities to increase the safety of the employee or related individual, such as temporarily or permanently relocating;

  • Seek legal assistance or remedies to ensure the health and safety of the employee or related individual; or

  • Attend, participate in, or prepare for a related court proceeding concerning the employee or related individual.

When it is foreseeable that leave will be necessary, employees must provide the employer with written notice. Notice should be provided "as far in advance as is reasonable and practical under the circumstances." In addition, the employer may request that the employee provide documentation of the domestic or sexual violence, which may take the form of:

  • a domestic violence restraining order or other documentation of equitable relief;

  • a letter or other written documentation from the county or municipal prosecutor documenting the domestic or sexual violence;

  • documentation of the conviction of the aggressor for the domestic or sexual violence;

  • medical documentation of the domestic violence or sexually violent offense;

  • certification from a certified Domestic Violence Specialist or the director of a designated domestic violence agency or Rape Crisis Center that the employee or related individual is a victim of domestic or sexual violence; or

  • other documentation or certification by a social worker, member of the clergy, shelter worker, or other professional who has assisted the employee or related individual in coping with domestic or sexual violence.

The NJ SAFE Act also requires that employers notify employees of their rights and obligations under the statute by posting a conspicuous notice in the workplace,[4] and using other "appropriate means" to keep employees informed.


Pursuant to the NJ SAFE Act, an employer may not discharge, harass, or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee who has taken or requested leave. An employee may bring a civil action against an employer within one year of an alleged violation of the law.[5] All remedies in common law tort actions are available to the employee, as well as:

  • a civil fine of between $1,000 and $2,000 for the employer's first violation and additional fines of up to $5,000 for each subsequent violation;

  • an injunction to restrain the continued violation of the law;

  • reinstatement of the employee to the same or equivalent position;

  • reinstatement of full fringe benefits and seniority rights;

  • compensation for any lost wages, benefits or other remuneration; and

  • payment of reasonable costs and attorney's fees.


New Jersey employers should begin familiarizing themselves with the NJ SAFE Act and should prepare to comply with its requirements. This includes determining whether existing leave policies are consistent with the new law and, if not, updating or adjusting such policies accordingly. Employers also must ensure compliance with the notice provisions of the statute, and will need to obtain the form of notice prescribed by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development for posting in the workplace. Please contact your Proskauer relationship attorney for further guidance on compliance.

[1]  "Domestic violence" and "sexual violence" are defined by statute.

[2]   While each incident of domestic or sexual violence constitutes a separate offense for which an employee may take leave, the employee may not surpass the twenty days of leave permitted under the statute in any twelve-month period.

[3]   Under the NJ SAFE Act, an employer may require that the employee take leave concurrently with any accrued paid vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave. Along those lines, when an employee requests leave for a reason covered by both the NJ SAFE Act and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) or the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the leave runs simultaneously.

[4]   New Jersey's Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development is to prescribe the form and manner of such notice.

[5]   A civil action is the "sole" course of redress permitted under the law.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Proskauer Rose LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Proskauer Rose LLP

Proskauer Rose LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.