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Sunday, April 5, 2020

NJ Law Expands Employee Benefits During the COVID Pandemic

NJ Governor Pat Murphy has signed into law new
Legislation that expands employee benefits during the
COVID-19 pandemic.

The S2304 designed to assure that workers impacted by epidemics
of communicable diseases have access to leave needed to care for
themselves or for effected members of their families.

The bill expands the scope of the State’s temporary disability
insurance (TDI) law, P.L.1948, c.110 (C.43:21-25 et al), so that
workers may obtain TDI or family leave insurance (FLI) benefits by
expanding that law’s definition of a “serious health condition” for
which a worker may obtain the benefits, either for the worker’s own
condition in the case of TDI benefits, or for the condition of a family
member of the worker cared for by the worker in the case of FLI

The bill states that during a state of emergency declared by
the Governor, or, as found to be needed by the Commissioner of
Health or other public health authority, a “serious health condition”
includes an illness caused by an epidemic of a communicable disease,
a known or suspected exposure to a communicable disease, or efforts
to prevent spread of a communicable disease, which:

1. In the case of FLI benefits, prompts the issuance by a public
health authority of a determination that the presence in the
community of the worker’s family member in need of care by the
worker, would jeopardize the health of others; or

2. In the case of FLI or TDI benefits, results in the
recommendation of a healthcare provider or public health authority
that a worker, or a family member of the worker in need of care by
the worker, voluntarily undergo self-isolation or self-quarantine as a
result of suspected exposure to a communicable disease because the
presence in the community of that worker or family member would
jeopardize the health of others.

The bill also eliminates the current one-week waiting period for
disability benefits in the indicated epidemic-related cases.

The bill modifies the "Family Leave Act," P.L.1989, c.261
C.34:11B-1 et seq.) so that the rights to reinstatement to employment
provided to workers by that act are applied to the epidemic-related
cases indicated in the bill, and modifies P.L.2018, c.10 (C.34:11D-1)
so that the earned sick leave provided by that law is provided in all
of the epidemic-related cases indicated in the bill.

P.L.2020, c.17 Approved 3/25/2020
This act shall take effect immediately.

Related information:

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 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