What Employers Should Know About Unpaid Leave

unpaid leave policy

Employers should know and understand what their employee's rights are

There comes a time when an employee will need to take a leave from their job. It is the responsibility of the employer to know and understand what their rights are. 

Under the federal Family & Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 months off per year for (1) pregnancy, childbirth, or adoption or (2) to care for (a) their own serious health condition, (b) an immediate family member with a serious health condition or (c) a newborn or newly adopted child within the first 12 months.

This article on FMLA breaks it down further.


As the law varies state by state, here we breakdown the requirements for New Jersey and New York

New Jersey


  • The New Jersey Family Leave Act (“NJFLA”) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks off every two years to care for (1) an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or (2) a newborn child within the first year after birth or adoption.
  • All employees are entitled to time off for jury duty leave.
  • The New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act (“SAFE”) provides employees with up to 20 days of unpaid time off because they or a member of their immediate family has been a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.

New York

  • Employees are entitled to take time off to testify as a victim of a crime, or because they received a subpoena requiring them to testify in a criminal proceeding.
  • All employees are entitled to time off for jury duty.
  • Companies with 20 or more employees must permit their employees to take up to 3 hours off work per year to donate blood at least twice a year without using paid time off.
  • New York State Election Law provides that employers must pay employees for up to 2 hours if the employee is unable to vote outside of working hours.
  • Employers that provide parental leave for the birth of a biological child must make the same leave available to employees who adopt a child who is preschool age or younger, or a child with a disability up to the age of 18. This law doesn’t require employers to provide parental leave; it only requires employers to offer equal leave to biological and adoptive parents if the employer chooses to offer parental leave.
  • Employers with 20 or more employees must allow an employee to take up to ten days off while the employee’s spouse is on leave during military deployment.


To learn more, visit https://www.ny.gov/programs/new-york-paid-sick-leave

There are many rules governing unpaid leave and nuances in how its implemented, so it is best to consult with an attorney to make sure you’re compliant.


Information contained in this post is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem, and it should not be substituted for legal advice, which relies on a specific factual analysis. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult the with Michael H. Ansell, Esq., or other competent legal counsel.

share this post

Picture of Michael Ansell, Esq.

Michael Ansell, Esq.

Michael Ansell is the founder and managing member of NextGen Counsel LLC. Throughout his years in practice, Michael focused on a variety of areas that impact small businesses, including contracts, employment, commercial leasing, corporate governance, construction, and general litigation.

keep reading