Last week, attorney Alan Schorr provided testimony to the New Jersey Assembly Labor Committee on behalf of proposed Bill No. 3451, which would revise the state’s existing law concerning family leave. The proposed revision would significantly extend the reach of Family Leave job protection by reducing the number of employees an employer must employ to be subject to the laws from 30 down to 5. The Bill passed the committee by a vote of 9-2.

Speaking on his own behalf and on behalf of the National Employment Lawyers Association New Jersey, Mr. Schorr pointed to the improvements that had been made a few years earlier when the threshold for the Family Leave Act’s job protection was lowered to businesses with 30 employees, and urged the assembly to take further action for even greater impact. Citing child development experts’ near-universal position on the importance of parent/child bonding during the first twelve weeks of an infant’s life, he noted that newborns’ needs do not diminish based on the number of employees their parents’ employers have working for them.

Proactively addressing cost objections from small business owners, Mr. Schorr noted that as a small business owner himself, accommodating Family Leave has always been a challenge but has always been well worth it: he noted the gratitude of his employees and the wellbeing of their children. He also asserted that when small businesses offer the same benefits that larger employees do, they elevate their ability to compete for better job candidates and that offering Family Leave protections will boost their desirability.

In his closing remarks to the assembly, Mr. Schorr noted that though all of the reasons posited by experts were valid, the most important reason for lowering the threshold number of employees for business offering Family Leave protection was that it was simply the right thing to do. The full legislature will consider the bill soon.