New Jersey employers should be aware that their employees may be entitled to more than just family and medical leave. Employees who volunteer outside of their employment may be entitled to leave for that volunteer work in certain circumstances. So, for example, emergency responders, including volunteer firefighters, volunteer first aid squad members and volunteer rescue or emergency squad members who respond to fire or emergency calls must receive unpaid leave when they miss work to respond to a qualified emergency.
A qualified emergency includes responding to an emergency alarm or responding to a state of emergency declared by the Governor of this State, or President of the United States. In the event of such an emergency, first responders must notify their employer at least one hour prior to the scheduled shift that they are responding to an emergency and will be absent from work. Upon return, the subject employee must provide a copy of the incident report and certification by the incident commander or other official confirming that the employee was actively engaged and necessary for the emergency response. The report should set forth the date and time the volunteer was ultimately relieved of emergency service duties and when they were free to return to work. If an employee will miss more than one consecutive day of work due to emergency volunteer service, the employee must notify the employer each day in advance of his/her shift. And although the employer cannot require an employee to use otherwise available paid time off, the employee may choose to do so.
Essential employees, by contrast, may be denied leave under this policy as permitted by state law. The term “essential employee” is not defined in the law, rather it is defined in other employment-related laws as an employee whose absence would create an undue hardship on the employer. An employer should effectively be careful not to penalize the general, non-essential employee for responding to an emergency situation as an outside volunteer. In other words, an employer should not discipline or negatively evaluate an employee’s job performance because that employee responded to a qualified emergency.
The postings on this blog were created for general informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or a solicitation to provide legal services. Although we attempt to ensure that the postings are complete, accurate, and current as of the date of publication, we assume no responsibility for their completeness, accuracy, or timeliness. The information in this blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel.
This blog may contain links to independent third party websites and services, including social media. We provide these links for your convenience, and you access them at your own risk. We have no control over and do not monitor the content or policies (including privacy policies) of these third-party websites and have no responsibility for, and no liability with respect to, their content, accuracy, or reliability. Unless expressly stated, we do not endorse any of the linked websites or any product, service, or publication referenced herein or therein. We will remove a link to any site from this blog upon request of the linked entity.
We grant permission to readers to link to this blog so long as this blog is not misrepresented. This site is not sponsored or associated with any other site unless so identified.
If you wish for Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A., to consider representing you, please obtain contact information from the Contact Us area of this blog or go to the firm’s website at www.wilentz.com. One of our lawyers will be happy to discuss the possibility of representation with you. However, the authors of Wilentz blogs are licensed only in New Jersey and/or New York and do not wish to represent anyone who viewed this site in a state where the site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state.