If you work in construction, maintenance, or other building trades and services for public works in New Jersey, you have likely heard of the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act (PWA). This law establishes prevailing wage levels for NJ workers engaged in these trades, which vary depending on a workers’ experience, specialty, and location. Besides setting wage rates, however, the PWA also sets out rules for providing “fringe benefits” to New Jersey trades workers.
If you’ve been injured on the job in New Jersey, the NJ workers’ compensation system is designed to help replace your lost wages and compensate you for your injuries. State law requires that private employers operating in New Jersey provide workers’ compensation benefits to all qualified employees through an insurance policy or an approved plan of self-insurance. But what happens if you are hurt at work and your employer refuses to compensate you?
If you are a contractor, subcontractor, or tradesperson in New Jersey, some of your contracts may be subject to “prevailing wage” laws. Whether you’re paying workers or ensuring that your pay is correct, it’s vital that you understand when the NJ prevailing wage laws apply and what they mean to you.
On August 26th, New Jersey residents and Americans across the country will celebrate Women's Equality Day, commemorating the certification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote in the U.S. A great deal of progress has been made since the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, but there is still a lot of work to do in the U.S. before we achieve true equality between the genders. So, while we have many reasons to celebrate on Women's Equality Day, it's also important to keep in mind the gender disparities that persist today.
As the landscape of the modern workforce shifts, many workers are missing out on traditional employment benefits like health insurance, workers’ compensation, and retirement plans. A new bill introduced in the New Jersey has been approved by reviewing committees and is expected to be put up for a vote in the state assembly in the fall.
Topics: Employment Law
If you’re injured at work or develop a work-related medical condition, the New Jersey workers’ compensation system can help pay your medical expenses and replace your lost wages for time off during your recovery. You may not realize that in addition to recovering your costs, you may also be entitled to compensation for any permanent impairment you sustain as a result of your injuries or occupational disease.
What Is a Compensable Illness or Disease?
New Jersey employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance on all employees working in the state. This insurance is designed to help you if you are injured in the course of your employment (like in an accident at work or while performing work-related duties) or if you suffer from an occupational disease (such as hearing loss or carpal tunnel syndrome). Some emotional illnesses may also qualify as industrial disabilities.
How Do You Receive Benefits?
You must notify your employer within certain time limits of your injury or illness; it will submit the claim to its workers’ comp insurer and determine whether your claim is covered. If the claim is accepted, the carrier and your employer will direct you to one or more appropriate medical providers and will pay for your reasonable and necessary medical expenses. If you are out of work for more than seven days, you may also receive temporary disability benefits to help replace your lost wages so you can focus on rehabilitation and recovery.
What Is Permanent Partial Disability?
Once you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), or when you return to work, you will be evaluated to determine whether your injury or disease has left a permanent impact on your life. If so, you may be entitled to an award of “permanent partial disability” (PPD) benefits to compensate you for your permanent “loss of function.” Certain physical injuries automatically qualify for partial or total disability in amounts set by statute. These “scheduled” losses include the amputation of limbs (including fingers, hands, arms, legs, feet, and toes) and losses of vision or hearing.
How Is the Amount of PPD Determined?
In many states, the amount of permanent disability compensation you receive depends only on whether you are impaired in the workplace—that is, whether you are restricted from or unable to work in your occupation. In New Jersey, however, a Judge of Compensation will evaluate permanency payments based on loss of function across all aspects of your life, including not only workplace impairment but also any loss of ability to engage in sports, hobbies, and other home activities. At this hearing, you must present:
- Medical proof of impairment (e.g., an MRI, surgical record, and/or other medical testimony) and
- Personal testimony (describing your limitations).
Once a claimant proves he or she has a permanent disability under these criteria, the Judge of Compensation decides whether the limitation is serious enough to merit compensation; if so, the Court determines a fair amount to award. Unlike in other states, PPD benefits can be awarded even if you are fully able to return to your regular employment, as long as you demonstrate a permanent disability that impairs your ability to carry out the “ordinary pursuits of life.”
How a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
New Jersey workers’ compensation laws can be complicated and confusing. In order to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your on-the-job injury or occupational disease, you must comply with all appropriate deadlines, requirements, and administrative procedures. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help evaluate, prepare, and present a case to the Judge of Compensation that fairly demonstrates your limitations so you can receive the benefits you deserve.
To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at the Basking Ridge, Oradell, or Newark, New Jersey, law offices of the Mark Law Firm, contact the firm online or call 973-440-2311, 908-626-1001, or 201-787-9406 today.
 N.J.S.A. 34:15-17. See http://www.nj.gov/treasury/riskmgt/workers-comp.shtml for more information.
 N.J.S.A. 34:15-14. See http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wc/workers/benefits/benefit_index.html for more information.
 N.J.S.A. 34:15-12. See http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/wc/pdf/2016_schedule.pdf for more information.
Image by Army Medicine via Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/armymedicine/8447985068. Some rights reserved.
Mental illness is a disability affecting nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults, costing America $193.2 billion in lost earning per year. These shocking statistics are exacerbated by the fact that mental illness is often publicly stigmatized, preventing a genuine discussion about mental illness from ever occurring.
As such, it is little wonder that many New Jersey residents are left wondering whether mental illness is a protected disability under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). Here is what New Jersey law has to say regarding mental illness discrimination in the workplace.
As counterintuitive as it might seem, New Jersey law does not treat drinking and riding a bicycle as a DUI offense. NJ Rev Stat § 39:4-50 (2016) defines DWI and DUI offenses as being limited to persons who operate a motor vehicle.
If you have been injured on the job or have suffered an occupational illness in New Jersey, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Navigating the legal complexities in order to receive compensation, however, requires a full understanding of the steps to take after a workplace injury has occurred or an occupational illness has been contracted.
New Jersey has strict rules outlining how the workers' compensation process works, so keep the following tips in mind to collect the benefits you deserve.
Topics: Workers' Compensation
The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (ISBR) and the U.S. Justice Department both filed discrimination lawsuits in 2016 after the ISBR was denied its plan to build a mosque in the area. Nearly half a year after the Justice Department's lawsuit was filed in 2016, the Bernards Township Committee voted to accept proposed settlements in both the Justice Department lawsuit and the lawsuit filed by the ISBR.
Topics: Discrimination & Harassment