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(c) 2020 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

New Jersey Benefits and the Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Employees Should Know

A person who was exposed to coronavirus during the course of their work and has now been told to self-quarantine (healthcare workers, wait staff, retail teachers, etc.)

May be eligible for Workers’ Compensation: If a person is directed to self-quarantine by their employer or a public health official following known exposure to the virus during the course of their work, that person could be eligible for workers’ compensation. May be able to use accrued Earned Sick Leave: The Earned Sick Leave law states, in part: “Time during which the employee is not able to work…because of the issuance by a public health authority of a determination that the presence in the community of the employee, or a member of the employee's family in need of care by the employee, would jeopardize the health of others.” 

May be eligible for Workers’ Compensation: If a person is directed to self-quarantine by their employer or a public health official following known exposure to the virus during the course of their work, that person could be eligible for workers’ compensation

May be able to use accrued Earned Sick Leave: The Earned Sick Leave law states, in part: “Time during which the employee is not able to work…because of the issuance by a public health authority of a determination that the presence in the community of the employee, or a member of the employee's family in need of care by the employee, would jeopardize the health of others.”

New Jersey has among the most comprehensive Earned Sick Leave, Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance laws in the country, which cover all employees – full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal.

New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Law even covers public health emergencies – employees can use Earned Sick leave if their workplace or child’s school or daycare is closed due to an epidemic, or if a public health authority determines the need for a quarantine.

Earned Sick Leave can be used for self-care, or for a person to care for a family member, which includes a child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, parent or grandparent, domestic or civil union partner, anyone related by blood to the employee, or anyone whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of family.

That said, variables affect eligibility as well as the applicable benefit or protection. The Labor Department examines cases on an individual basis, and makes eligibility determinations in accordance with the law.

An employee should not apply for benefits if you continue to be paid by your employer during COVID-19.

Click here to view scenarios for state benefits and protections. Clearly, many employers have their own more generous policies.

Relating information:

Is the workers' compensation system ready for the COVID-19 [coronavirus] virus? Live Updates

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, [CPRSAA] 2020 (March 6, 2020)

CDC Coronavirus Guidance Sets a Standard for Employer Responsibility and Liability 2/28/2020

Emergency Federal Coronavirus Funding - Better late than never 3/8/2020

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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). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 jon@gelmans.com has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Blog: Workers ' Compensation
Twitter: jongelman
LinkedIn: JonGelman
LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group
Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" West-Thomson-Reuters