As most State of New Jersey employees already know, Sick Leave Injury (SLI) benefits will be eliminated as of July 1, 2011. This means that employees injured on the job will no longer receive SLI if they are out of work for a work related injury. They will instead receive temporary disability benefits under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation law.
I recently spoke at a meeting of CWA Union Local 1040 members. One person attending the meeting stated that her employees did not understand how they would be affected by the elimination of SLI. They were under the impression that this change would not affect the average State employee injured on the job. This attendee asked me to make it simple for her and tell her the basic differences between workers compensation temporary disability (WC) and SLI. The basic differences are as follows:
- Workers’ compensation benefits require a waiting period. An injured worker must be kept out of work by the workers’ compensation doctor for more than seven days before they are entitled to WC benefits. Once they are out of work for more than seven days they will receive WC benefits from day one. However under the SLI system, a worker is paid from the first day of the injury, regardless of how many days total they are out of work.
- Under the workers’ compensation law the injured worker receives weekly benefits equal to 70% of their gross pay, up to a maximum for the year 2011 of $792.00 per week. Under SLI the injured worker gets full salary.
- Workers’ compensation benefits are not paid for partial days that an employee might miss to get related medical treatment. SLI benefits are paid to injured workers who miss parts of days to get work related medical treatment.
- Workers’ compensation benefits can be paid if an underlying medical condition is aggravated by a work injury, and the WC doctor keeps the employee out of work. SLI is not payable when an underlying condition is aggravated by a work injury.
Please give us a call is you have any questions about the change in the SLI law.