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Family Leave Insurance Story Bank

Allison (click for more)

"I firmly believe that one of the reasons [my daughter and I] are so the intimacy of the bonding that began in those first three months. We need to expand family leave. There is no asset, no natural resource, no source of joy greater than our children. It’s in everyone’s interest to help our children get what they need to grow into healthy, civic-minded, conscientious adults. And what they need – and deserve – is time at the beginning of their lives to build the strongest, most supportive relationships possible with the people who will raise them."

Tamara (click for more)

"I am so grateful that the NJ Family Leave Insurance program allowed me to enjoy my time with my son after he was born but also while he had to undergo surgery and go through recovery. His father could not use NJ Family Leave Insurance because he needed to be guaranteed his job was safe and earn more than the 2/3 of his wages, if he could have he would have jumped at the change to be with us. However, I took the time I had and returned to work after embracing the mother/child bonding time that I longed for."


Lydia (click for more)

"I am very grateful that I live in New Jersey for the benefit of family leave insurance, which most states do not have. However, the cost of living in NJ is such that that we still struggled with receiving only a fraction of my full pay for only 6 weeks. As a resident of this state, I would be willing to pay more into the Family Leave Insurance plan if it would help add to the time and amont of money other mothers and fathers could recieve to be able to spend time with their new children. I believe New Jersey has been and should continue to be a leader on this issue."


LaShaunda Carter

"My sister Takeea wasn’t able to walk or take care of her two teenage children" said LaShaunda Carter. Takeea suffers from debilitating lupus attacks. LaShaunda would be the best person to help her out when she needs caretaking the most but she can’t afford to take time off from work to help care for her. The Family Leave Law doesn’t include sisters so she cannot receive the wage replacement assistance, despite paying into the program just like every New Jersey worker.  “If we were in a position to be able to take the leave to be able to help her that would be tremendous. Sometimes that’s all you have is those siblings as a family unit, that needs to be there for one another.” 



Jessica worked at the front desk of a doctors' office and she was six months pregnant when her doctor advised her to stop working because she was at high risk and it could put her pregnancy in danger. At that time, Jessica had been at her job less than a year so she her job was not protected under FMLA or NJFLA. She was fortunate to be able to receive Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) during this time out of work. After her baby was born prematurely, she continued to be out on TDI and in recovery for several weeks. Upon completing her recovery she wanted to take bonding time and applied for NJ Family Leave Insurance (FLI). She received FLI and a week later her employer informed her that she was being let go.Her baby is now 6 months old and has some developmental delays but she is thankful for the wage replacement assistance that both TDI and FLI provided but would have benefited from her job being available to her after she took time off to heal and bond with her new baby and she faces an unstable financial situation as she looks for new work.


As an newer employee, after my daughter was born, I was forced to return to work after 6 weeks because I did not qualify for fully paid leave. Unfortunately, I could not afford to take additional unpaid time off.  NJ Family Leave Insurance does not cover full wages and my household depends on my income, but I could take the 6 weeks because of NJFLI and I was able to have some money saved and  borrow money from relatives, otherwise financial stress and strain would've been an additional  one on top of all the others associated with having a new baby. 


Jason Butkowski is a father of young twins who were born at 28 weeks old. After his wife took paid family leave to care for their children who were hospitalized for 69 days in the Neonatal Intesive Care Unit, and after he took all of his vacation and sick time, Jason took paid family leave to care for the twins after his wife's leave was up. He is grateful for the opportunity to be there for his twins and says he has learned so much and he even has inside jokes with them. Jason explains how the NJ paid family leave gave him and his wife a peace of mind knowning that one of them could be there to care for their children without losing a paycheck.


James Musson, father of five, including twins born in Sept. 2008, prior to availability of New Jersey's Family Leave Insurance (FLI) benefits. Since FLI allows for bonding leave to be taken during the 12 months immediately following birth of child, James was able to take six weeks in 1 week increments in June 2009 through August 2009, immediately after FLI benefits became available. "This worked well for the family and me because I was able to get used to getting up in the night for feedings, and I was able to not fall behind at work too much. "I never had the opportunity to take any time off with the first three. I think I had 1-2 days off after each of their births. As a father, you are looked at as a 'spare part', and not really given any chance to get used to a new family. Fathers are still expected to work while dealing with sleepless nights, feedings, etc. Having family leave with the twins made me appreciate mothers more, made me spend more time with the babies than I ever was able to before and be more relaxed having this quality time with them."


Lauren was able to take paid family leave after giving birth to her second son in January 2011. By taking advantage of New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance program, Lauren was able to take a substantial amount of time off from work and bond with her newborn as well as her other son. It is not financially possible for Lauren’s family to rely on a single income. Having access to family leave insurance eased the burden on Lauren’s family so that she was able to bond with her new baby without having to worry about losing income or her employment. “I was able to stay at home and not have to worry about the financial impact of staying home without pay. So for me, paid family leave is really important and I think it’s something that all parents should be aware of, so that they can bond with their child for as long as possible.”


Tahearra and Permilia


In 2008, Tahearra’s mother, Permilia, found out that she was ill and needed to have surgery. Initially, Tahearra had decided to take an unpaid leave through her employer to care for her mother after surgery. The following year, Tahearra needed to take leave again to return to caring for her mother and was informed that New Jersey's Family Leave Insurance had gone into effect. After applying and completing the paperwork, Tahearra was able to use family leave insurance to stay home with her mother while she recovered. She was able to have her job protected but still take the time to care. “It just eased my mind and it was less stressful with taking care of her and jumping up and going to work and still having to take care of my family. It made it a lot easier, stress free basically.” Permilia also noted that, “having someone who cares about you taking care of you, it makes all the difference in the world. I think it helped me recover faster.”


Dena was able to use family leave insurance to remain home and bond with her newborn child. Dena chose to supplement her existing time off from her employer by using family leave insurance. Dena is very grateful that she learned about New Jersey's family leave insurance program and was able to bond with her baby for longer than she had previously expected. She hopes that others can learn about this great program and make use of the benefit. "That was the best thing that ever happened. I got to be home with my baby 3 for months. It was great."


While working as a Nursing Assistant, Khadijah learned of New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance program. Khadijah was able to take the time off from work to bond and breastfeed her newborn son. FLI allowed Khadijah to provide her baby with the care she desired within the comfort of her home, an entitlement that she did not have with her first child. Khadijah was grateful to have the opportunity to use FLI and spend time with her new baby.

Dr. Herb Greenberg

Dr. Herb Greenberg founded Caliper Corporation 50 years ago. With over 200 employees internationally, Caliper maintains strong values to work-life balance and its family leave program. At least a dozen of Caliper’s employees have taken advantage of the company’s family leave program, which has not only boosted morale, but has shown to have significant cost savings. By providing employees with a method of work-life balance and a family leave option, employees are more likely to return to work at the end of their leave. The impact on retention has been extremely important to Caliper in holding on to its valued employees rather than seeking replacements and paying for the cost of re-training.


Roxanne first used NJ’s family leave insurance in 2011 after giving birth to her first child. In addition to short-term disability, Roxanne was able to take advantage of paid family leave and take an additional six weeks off of work to bond with her baby. Having this extra time was extremely meaningful to Roxanne to be able to spend time with her newborn. After the birth of her second child, Roxanne use family leave insurance again. Roxanne and her family value the financial security that comes with paid benefits during time off. Roxanne believes that all new parents should take advantage of this program.

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