The New Jersey Workers' Compensation Act includes an extensive variety of employment positions under its umbrella of coverage. All workers who can be considered "employees" are eligible for state workers' compensation benefits unless their specific job classification has been statutorily removed from the control of the state by the federal government. Every homeowners' policy is required to carry coverage for household employees.
Public employees have been given express coverage for workers' compensation benefits by statutory authority. Whether elected or appointed, the Act covers every employee of the state, county, municipality and any other governing board. The Act also expressly covers volunteer firemen doing public fire duty and every active volunteer of a first aid or rescue squad.
Corporate Officers and Shareholders
Corporate officers are expressly covered under the Workers' Compensation Act. The corporate officer must be an employee in order to fall within the scope of those who may receive benefits.
Partners are covered under workers compensation as well as sole (single) owners if an elections is made to adopt coverage.
Husbands and Wives
The Supreme Court gave validity and enforceability to interspousal contracts of a commercial nature. With the recognition of such a relationship, employment contracts were considered valid, and coverage was afforded to the employed spouse.
Minors under the Workers' Compensation Act are treated as a special class, and are provided with additional benefits and options not available to other workers. Minors are defined as those individuals under 14 years of age, who are employed in violation of the law, or between the ages of 14 and 18 who are employed without a certificate or special permit, or who are employed at any occupation prohibited by law.
In general, a volunteer is not an employee under the Workers' Compensation Act. A volunteer is one who has not entered into a contract for hire and is one who does not receive payment for services. A family member who substituted her services for those of her son who was ill by delivering his newspapers was deemed to be an employee. While the petitioner has the burden of proof of establishing employment, the respondent has an equal burden to establish the defense that the individual was merely a volunteer and not covered within the scope of the Workers' Compensation Act.
Palisades Interstate Park Commission
The Palisades Interstate Park Commission is governed under the provisions of the Palisades Interstate Park compact. By statutory mandate, they are deemed to be employees of the State of New Jersey and are subject to the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Act.
New Jersey Horse Racing Injury Compensation Board
On January 5, 1996 in recognition of the difficulties in attempting to insure adequate workers' compensation coverage for the horse racing industry, the New Jersey Legislature enacted legislation to establish the New Jersey Horse Racing Injury Compensation Board. Horse racing employees are deemed to include a jockey, jockey apprentice, exercise rider, driver, and driver-trainer who perform services for an owner in conjunction with the exercising or racing of a horse. Furthermore, a trainer is considered to be a horse racing industry employee.
The Work First New Jersey Program
The "Work First New Jersey" (WFNJ) program was established in the Department of Human Services (DHS) as the State's consolidated public assistance program. It replaced the former programs of aid to families with dependent children (AFDC), AFDC emergency assistance, general assistance (GA), GA emergency assistance, the GA employability program and the Development Initiative. Recipients of the WFNJ program are entitled to benefits if they suffer an injury, illness or death arising out of and in the course of a community or alternative work experience. The recipient will not receive workers' compensation benefits for any medical or hospital services provided by Medicaid.
Youth Transitions to Work Partnership Act
The New Jersey Legislature has recognized that there are intensively competitive conditions in the employment market, and that the economy of New Jersey requires the creation of a growing pool of highly trained, technologically sophisticated young workers who need greater opportunities and incentives to compete in the employment market. Any employer who has an individual working for the program established under a grant provided in accordance with the Youth Transitions to Work Partnership Act shall be responsible for providing workers' compensation insurance coverage for that individual.