Employee Benefits for Coronavirus
What Employees Need to Know
NJ Governor Patrick Murphy signed legislation enacting sweeping measures to provide workers’ compensation benefits to essential workers who contract coronavirus [COVID-19] and provide dependency benefits to their survivors.
The legislation eases the burden of proof by establishing a rebuttable presumption that coronavirus disease contracted by health care workers, public safety workers, and other essential employees is work-related and compensable under the NJ Workers’ Compensation Act.
A person exposed to coronavirus during their work has now been told to self-quarantine (healthcare workers, wait staff, retail teachers, etc.)
- May be eligible for Workers’ Compensation: If a person is directed to self-quarantine by their employer or a public health official following known exposure to the virus during their work, that person could be eligible for workers’ compensation. May be able to use accrued Earned Sick Leave: The Earned Sick Leave law states, in part: “Time during which the employee is not able to work…because of the issuance by a public health authority of a determination that the presence in the community of the employee, or a member of the employee's family in need of care by the employee, would jeopardize the health of others.”
- May be eligible for Workers’ Compensation: If a person is directed to self-quarantine by their employer or a public health official following known exposure to the virus during their work, that person could be eligible for workers’ compensation.
- May be able to use accrued Earned Sick Leave: The Earned Sick Leave law states, in part: “Time during which the employee is not able to work…because of the issuance by a public health authority of a determination that the presence in the community of the employee, or a member of the employee's family in need of care by the employee, would jeopardize the health of others.”
New Jersey has among the most comprehensive Earned Sick Leave, Temporary Disability, and Family Leave Insurance laws in the country, covering all employees – full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal.
New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Law even covers public health emergencies – employees can use Earned Sick leave if their workplace or child’s school or daycare is closed due to an epidemic or if a public health authority determines the need for quarantine.
Earned Sick Leave can be used for self-care, or for a person to care for a family member, which includes a child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, parent or grandparent, domestic or civil union partner, anyone related by blood to the employee, or anyone whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of family.
That said, variables affect eligibility as well as the applicable benefit or protection. The Labor Department examines cases on an individual basis and makes eligibility determinations in accordance with the law.
An employee should not apply for benefits if you continue to be paid by your employer during COVID-19.
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 email@example.com have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Blog: Workers ' Compensation
LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group
Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" Thomson-Reuters
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