As the weather grows cooler, the holidays are right around the corner. Many employers and workers are confused about what kind of holiday decorations, displays, and celebrations are legally allowed in the workplace.
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.
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.
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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.
Workplace incivility has become, essentially, a fact of life. Studies have shown that the vast majority of workers report having experienced incivility as work, many as often as once a week. But at what point does bullying, abuse, and unfairness rise to the level of an illegal “hostile work environment”? The answer may surprise you.
If you work in New Jersey, it’s important to know your rights. Each state has different laws to protect employees, and many of the laws aren’t what you’d expect. Here are ten laws you need to know if you work in New Jersey.
Topics: Employment Law
Political discussions and arguments haven’t subsided following the election, and protests have continued across the country. Employers who want to keep their workers happy and prevent workplace arguments, hostilities, and even violence may wonder if they can just completely ban political discussions. Is it legal for an employer to prohibit employees from discussion politics in the workplace or during work hours? And what about attempting to police what employees do in their spare time related to politics, protests, or political organizations, or taking adverse employment actions against employees based on their personal social media posts? Is this a violation of your free speech protections, or is it allowable treatment of at-will employees?