On the heels of an attack at the New Jersey State Prison earlier this month, a new bill has been introduced that would require the employer to make up the difference between workers’ compensation benefits and a corrections officer’s full pay. Corrections officers are the only law enforcement officers who do not receive full pay after a work accident. Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation statute, an injured worker is only entitled to receive 70% of their gross weekly wage, subject to a cap or ceiling, after a 7 day waiting period. While the benefits are tax-free, an officer earning in excess of $62,000 per year is capped at $843 per week in 2014. As a result, many corrections officers suffer from serious financial hardship after a work related injury.
This bill would help keep officers out of financial hot water while they recover from work related injuries. It is unfair to expect corrections officers to put their lives and the financial well-being of their families on the line every time they walk through the prison gates. State Assemblyman Charles Mainor originally introduced the bill in April 2013. In light of this recent brutal assault, he is reintroducing his bill. A similar bill is being introduced in the senate by Senator Sandra B. Cunningham and that bill has the support of Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney. At Stark & Stark, we represent many law enforcement officers, including corrections officers, and are hopeful that this bill becomes law. We offer free, confidential consultations to answer questions with regard to New Jersey Workers’ Compensation benefits. We look forward to serving you.