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Family Leave Insurance Story Bank

Al-nisa and Gabriel (click for more)

Al-nisa reflects on how different the situation would have been if she and her husband hadn’t had that time after their 2nd baby’s birth. “I think it would have been more stressful for my oldr son,  because it would have been a lot more stressful for me,” she explains. “The difference between a calm spirit and stress means everything with a child with autism.” Al-nisa was able to take the time to explain concepts like breastfeeding to her son. “We were able to understand what his needs were. I can’t imagine that would have been possible if I hadn’t had that time and my husband there as well.”

 

Allison (click for more)

"I firmly believe that one of the reasons [my daughter and I] are so close...is 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."

 

Jason (click for more)

"Because New Jersey has paid family leave, we were able to focus on preemie twins' needs for the first six months, and didn’t have to worry about losing a paycheck. My wife extended her time with them once they came home with six weeks of paid family leave.  When Kristi had used all of her paid benefits, I took my remaining vacation and sick time, and finally, took my own paid family leave to get us to the six month mark before we had to put them in daycare. The time I spent with my kids was just as important for me as it was for them. Their status as premies forced me to be present – physically and emotionally – and I think I’m closer to my kids than I would otherwise have been without this benefit. This is a program that made a difference in my family’s lives, and it’s something that I wish was available to more families throughout the country.  For families trying to balance family responsibilities with financial realities – families like mine – it’s the right thing to do."

 

Lauren & her daughter Stephanie (click for more)

When Stephanie was born, there was no paid family leave availalbe, but when she turned 19 and needed a kidney transplant. Her mom, Lauren describes that leave as “a totally different ball game because of NJ Family Leave program. "This time I had income coming in. It was not at all like the first time. We didn’t take years to recover. We didn’t almost lose our home.” Stephanie celebrated her graduation and her prom in the hospital with both parents present. Thanks to paid leave, her father was able to take time as well as her mother. Stephanie experienced some complications that required trips to a hospital in Philadelphia. “We alternated leaves,” Lauren said. “I took mine all at once when she had the transplant. He took intermittent leave so he could take her back and forth to Philly.” Lauren stressed how important it was that both parents could participate. Stephanie is now attending Mercer County Community College with the help of a nurse. “Paid leave was a huge relief for me and for the people I work with,” Lauren said. “It’s such a different scenario. You know you’re not just going to be able to take care of the person, which is huge in itself, but you also know you’re going to be financially stable.”

 

Tahearra and Permilia

Click here for more (click for more)

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.”

LaShaunda (click for more)

LaShaunda's sister Takia fell so ill from Lupus, that she was unable to walk her take care of her children. LaShaunda would have liked to be able to afford to take time off of work to take care of her during her episode. But siblings are not covered under the NJ Family Leave Insurance program so she would not qualify for the benefit to take leave to provide her sister with care. This, despite paying into the program!

Lauren

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.”

 

Dena

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."

Khadijah

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

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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