Worker’s Compensation and You
Fortunately, there are strong laws in New Jersey to ensure compensation for school employees hurt on the job. In addition to the workers’ compensation law, school employees are covered by 18A:30-2.1 which provides us with full salary from the day of the incident without the absences being charged to sick leave.
18A:30-2.1 Sick leave payment for service connected disability; satisfactory service
18A:30-2.1. a. Whenever any employee, entitled to sick leave under Title 18A Education Chapter 30, is absent from his post of duty as a result of a personal injury caused by an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment, his employer shall pay to such employee the full salary or wages for the period of such absence for up to one calendar year without having such absence charged to the annual sick leave or the accumulated sick leave provided in N.J.S.18A:30-2 and 18A:30-3. Salary or wage payments provided in this section shall be made for absence during the waiting period and during the period the employee received or was eligible to receive a temporary disability benefit under chapter 15 of Title 34, Labor and Workmen’s Compensation, of the Revised Statutes. Any amount of salary or wages paid or payable to the employee pursuant to this section shall be reduced by the amount of any workmen’s compensation award made for temporary disability.
- Leave taken by an employee pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall constitute satisfactory service as provided pursuant to N.J.S.18A:29-14 and any other provision, statutory or contractual, relating to employment, adjustment or other increments and shall not constitute inefficiency or other good cause for the withholding of an employment or adjustment increment.
Together, these two laws provide:
- Medical benefits for reasonable and necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation paid for through workers’ compensation, not the employee’s personal health insurance.
- Full wages and related benefits if unable to work, not chargeable to sick leave, for up to one year from the date of the injury or date when the employee first became aware of an occupational disease or illness and its relation to the job. Generally workers’ compensation benefits are not taxable. However, the employee should seek qualified tax advice from an accountant or other tax professional as to the tax exempt status of any wage-loss benefits received.
- Partial wages beyond one year, and 70 percent of the employee’s gross salary up to a maximum of $855 a week in New Jersey after the first year.
- A permanency award based on total or partial disability and death benefits when applicable.
- It should also be noted that under different statutes, accidental or ordinary disability may also be available through the Division of Pensions where the injured employee can no longer work depending on the type of injury and/or years of service.
COURSE OF ACTION
- Report any work-related injury as soon as possible but not later than 90 days after an accident. The report can be verbal or in writing to a supervisor or school board office.
- Request immediate medical attention from a workers’ compensation providerapproved physician.
- Document the accident with a written description and photos, if possible.
- Report an occupational disease as soon as the worker becomes aware of the condition and that it is job-related. This should be done in writing with notes from a physician. Document the conditions that led to the occupational disease.
- Keep the school board office, supervisor and your local up to date on ongoing absences. Submit notes from the physician. Return to work when released by the physician.
- Take immediate action to preserve sick days should they be inappropriately assessed by contacting the Federation Office at 732-442-7788. Strict timelines apply to preserving sick days.
- If Human Resources charges absences to sick or vacation time, please notify the Federation.