Recently Enacted New Jersey Law Requires Employers To Provide Leave For Victims Of Domestic Violence And Sexual Assault As Of October 1, 2013

by Pepper Hamilton LLP

New Jersey recently enacted the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act (SAFE Act), P.L. 2013, c.82, which takes effect on October 1, 2013. This law requires New Jersey employers to provide 20 days of unpaid leave to an eligible employee who is a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault or whose child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or civil union partner was the victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. Under the SAFE Act, employer means “a person or corporation, partnership, individual proprietorship, joint venture, firm or company, or other similar legal entity” and covers private and public entities with 25 or more employees.

To be eligible for leave, an employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and at least 1,000 base hours in the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave. Employees must take leave within one year of the qualifying incident and must provide advance notice to the employer if the need for leave is foreseeable. The SAFE Act provides that eligible employees may take leave to:

  1. seek medical attention for or recover from, physical or psychological injuries caused by domestic or sexual violence
  2. obtain services from a victim services organization
  3. obtain psychological or other counseling
  4. participate in safety planning, to temporarily or permanently relocate, or to take other actions to increase safety
  5. seek legal assistance or remedies to ensure the health and safety of the employee or the employee’s relative, and
  6. attend, participate in, or prepare for a criminal or civil court proceeding relating to an incident of domestic or sexual violence.

Employers may require employees to use available accrued paid vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave during any part of the 20-day period of unpaid leave. If an employee requests leave for a reason that is also covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA), the leave under the SAFE Act may run concurrently with the employee’s entitlement under these laws. Employees make take this leave intermittently, in intervals of no less than one day.

Employers may request documentation validating the need for leave, and the SAFE Act provides a list of sufficient documentation. Employers should be aware that the documentation submitted by an employee “shall be retained in the strictest confidentiality, unless the disclosure is voluntarily authorized in writing by the employee or is required by a federal or State law, rule, or regulation.” Employers must also display “conspicuous notice” of their employees’ rights and obligations under the SAFE Act in the manner and form provided by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development and “use other appropriate means to keep [their] employees so informed.”

If an employer violates the SAFE Act, an employee may bring a private civil action within one year of the alleged violation, and the court can award the prevailing plaintiff all remedies available in common law tort actions, including economic damages, attorney’s fees, and reinstatement. The employer may be subject to a civil fine of $1,000 or up to $2,000 for a first violation, and up to $5,000 for any subsequent violations.

Because the SAFE Act covers employers with at least 25 employees, a number of smaller employers who did not have the requisite 50 or more employees to be subject to the NJFLA or the FMLA will be affected and be required to comply with the SAFE Act by the October 1, 2013 date. Further, it is likely that the law may be interpreted to cover employers whose employees reside in other states in addition to New Jersey. Therefore, an employer that has fewer than 25 employees in New Jersey, but more than 25 employees total, may still be required to comply with the SAFE Act.

Employers should update their current leave policies to ensure compliance with the SAFE Act and train management and human resources personnel on the provisions of the SAFE Act. Human resource personnel should be diligent as this act expands the list of qualifying reasons for leave that are not included in existing leave laws. Employers should also look for the notice posting that will be provided by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and make sure to follow the posting requirements.

Finally, employers who have multi-state operations should be aware that, in addition to New Jersey, 11 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the City of Philadelphia, have enacted similar laws concerning leave for those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

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.

© Pepper Hamilton LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Pepper Hamilton LLP

Pepper Hamilton 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.