Injured Officers Entitled to Full Pay When Assaulted at Work
A new law gives a fresh meaning to the concept of “assault pay.” According to Senate Bill No. 596, injured officers will be entitled to full pay when assaulted at work. Other civilian employees hurt in specified conditions may also receive supplemental workers’ compensation benefits.
New Jersey workers who are hurt in the course of their employment are generally entitled to 70% of their weekly earnings for temporary disability benefits. Each year, the minimum and maximum rate of pay changes. For example, the maximum weekly benefit for a 2017 accident is $896 per week. However, the new law adds supplemental pay for certain employees.
Injured Officers and Supplemental Pay
Some union contracts already address the issue of law enforcement officers hurt during the course of their employment. Notwithstanding, a new statewide compensation program specifically addresses injuries suffered as a result of riots or assaults at work. Those who are entitled to benefits from this program include:
- State corrections officers, juvenile corrections officers, and juvenile detention officers who are hurt be inmates or detainees in their custody or care
- Parole and probation officers assaulted by individuals they are supervising
- State Human Services police officers, State conservation officers, State park police officers Palisades Interstate Park officers, and campus police officers appointed by a county college or four-year public institution of higher education who are assaulted during an arrest or transport
- Civilian employees who work with inmates or detainees and who suffer bodily harm as a result of a riot or assault
- Medical security officers who are authorized to work through the Department of Human Services and are victims of assault by patients or residents who require medical security
In some circumstances, many public employees were already afforded full pay when injured at work. However, this new law brings further clarity for those in dangerous situations.
Calculation of Pay
Going forward, those named above should not experience a delay or reduction in pay if assaulted at work. Employers will continue to issue paychecks for authorized medical leaves until workers’ compensation benefits kick in. At that time, injury victims will receive compensation that brings them to the total of their regular net pay.
The new calculation of pay has two benefits. First, the employee will not be limited to 70% of gross pay. Additionally, the rate will not be capped at the maximum amount for regular temporary disability benefits. That said, an officer assaulted at work would not be restricted to receiving just $896 per week. The amount of pay would be based on the regular paycheck.
Other Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In addition to temporary disability, injured workers are entitled to further compensation. This includes medical treatment and possible awards for partial or total permanent disability. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assist you in determining your eligibility for an award of permanent disability.