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(c) 2018 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

NJ Legislature Advances Increase to Work Comp Benefits & Proposes System Study

On Monday, September 24, 2018, a NJ legislative committee, Senate Budget and Appropriations,   took action on a sweeping workers' compensation proposal (S782) to increase benefits for the loss of a hand or foot and also establish a permanent study to review the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire NJ workers' Compensation system. The bill was reported out of committee and now will be voted on by the NJ Senate on September 27, 2018.

The committee vote was as follows:

SBA 9/24/2018 - r/Sca - Yes {10} No {0} Not Voting {1} Abstains {2} - Roll Call

Sarlo, Paul A. (C) - Yes Stack, Brian P. (V) - Yes Addiego, Dawn Marie - Abstain
Bucco, Anthony R. - Not Voting Cruz-Perez, Nilsa - Yes Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes
Greenstein, Linda R. - Yes O'Scanlon, Declan J., Jr. - Yes Oroho, Steven V. - Yes
Pou, Nellie - Yes Ruiz, M. Teresa - Yes Thompson, Samuel D. - Abstain
Weinberg, Loretta - Yes

This bill increases the amount of workers' compensation paid in certain cases for the loss of a hand, or thumb and first and second fingers (on one hand) or four fingers (on one hand) or a foot, as follows:

1. If a loss of function of a hand is determined to be a 25% or more loss of use, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 300 weeks of compensation for a 100% loss of function; and

2. If a loss of function of a foot is determined to be a 25% or more loss of use, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 275 weeks of compensation for a 100% loss of function.

Under current law, the maximum award for the loss of a hand is 245 weeks and the maximum award for the loss of a foot is 230 weeks.

The bill also requires the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to study, in consultation with the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, the State’s workers’ compensation system and make recommendations that will help foster and maintain an efficient, effective and well-balanced workers’ compensation program that is equally responsive to the needs of both the State’s workforce and the employer community. The commissioner will submit a study, with recommendations, to the Governor and the Legislature not later than one year after the effective date of this bill and every five years thereafter. This bill was pre-filed for introduction in the 2018-2019 session pending technical review. As reported, the bill includes the changes required by a technical review, which has been performed.



Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters).

Updated: 9/25/18 10:42am
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