New Jersey Corrections Officers Win Right to Sick Leave Pay

New Jersey corrections officers who’ve been attacked by inmates while on the job finally will be entitled to receive sick pay for their injuries under a bill recently signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.

Beginning in October, the new legislation will continue to pay officers who are hurt at work as a result of an inmate attack until workers’ compensation is approved and received, which is a process that can take several months to unfold. Under the new law, the employees will be paid the difference of what workers’ compensation doesn’t cover from their regular salary until they can return to work.

The law applies not only to corrections officers, but also human services police officers, state conservation officers, state park police officers, campus police officers and medical security officers—as well as civilian jail employees if their injuries were sustained from assaults or apprehensions.

This benefit is big for all corrections officers I represent,” says Samuel M. Gaylord, managing partner of the Gaylord Popp law firm in Trenton.

Gaylord’s firm, Gaylord Popp LLC, of Trenton, represents correction officers because of its specialty not only in workers’ compensation, but also because it specializes in such applicable areas as disability pension appeals, Social Security disability and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Now that the NJ CO sick leave pay has been signed into law, it will put New Jersey corrections officers on par with police officers who are attacked while on duty.

Christie’s signature followed a two-year campaign by the corrections officers’ union, the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 105, to highlight injuries suffered by corrections officers and the lack of sick pay for them. Their crusade included releasing photos of injured employees and documenting the attacks upon them.

Before Christie’s action, corrections officers who were hurt during an inmate attack or riot had to wait for workers’ compensation to begin to receive any pay, as they are not entitled to salary while they are out of work.

Christie vetoed the sick leave bill in May, conditionally, saying a time limit should be placed on how long an employee can receive benefits.

The governor amended the bill to limit the supplemental sick-pay compensation for up to six months for “serious” injuries. The initial pay, before the workers’ compensation kicks in, will also be limited to six months.

Paid sick leave for correction officers injured on the job had been New Jersey law until July 2011 when they were eliminated by the state legislature, the officers’ labor union has noted. Those benefits allowed full pay for a period of one year following an injury that occurred on duty, compared to the six months under the new law.

How Gaylord Popp Can Help You With Workers’ Comp, Disability and Other Claims

Worker’s compensation and disability claims, whether they be for prison officers or other members of the public, can get complicated and certainly come with their extra rolls of red tape. They can beg many questions: How much pay can you get under workers’ compensation in New Jersey, for example, and how long can you be on workers’ compensation pay?

Generally, the answers to those questions are $633 per week maximum and up to 400 weeks for temporary disability benefits. However, an injury may have left worker permanently disabled, and the benefit period can be longer in such an instance. And, the worker may be older as well and be eligible for Social Security disability compensation.

Sifting through such questions, helping you get in the right benefits program and landing you the maximum amount of pay you deserve are all matters that should be left to the legal team at Gaylord Popp, which has offices not only near the state capitol in Trenton but Woodbridge and Cherry Hill as well. The whole team can collaborate to offer you help with its expertise in the following specialties:

Workers’ Compensation

Are you a corrections officer who has been hurt under the NJ CO sick leave pay signed into law, but now your case has received the workers’ compensation benefit stage? Gaylord Popp can help you through this process, too.

When you get hurt because of an inmate attack and have trouble with your workers’ compensation claim, it can mean lost wages, mounting medical bills and delays in paperwork, all of which can stretch a family budget to its limits.

The team at Gaylord Popp offers valuable information that can help protect your rights and attain the compensation you deserve.

Disability Pension Appeal

State workers, such as the corrections officers who recently won sick pay benefits, and county and municipal workers all are part of New Jersey’s Division of Pensions and Benefits, which regulates and oversees all public pension programs in the state.

Perhaps you’ve received benefits now the NJ CO sick leave pay has been signed into law, then it’s later determined that your injury has left you permanently disabled.

Unfortunately, many honest people fall victim to unfair denials when seeking disability pension benefits. Gaylord Popp’s firm in Trenton protects the rights of these victims and handles the appeals process with care and expertise.

Social Security Disability

Are you an older worker who has qualified for correctional officer benefits under the state pension program, but now you’ve reached Social Security retirement age and need to qualify there, too?

Like the worker’s compensation claims that can take up to several months in New Jersey, the Social Security disability claim filing and review process can be laborious, often taking up six months of one’s time.

As a result, too many disabled Americans who need and deserve Social Security Administration disability benefits do not receive them—more than half of claimants, in fact, or 53 percent, are denied on their first try, according to Gaylord Popp. This can happen for many reasons, but often it is simply a matter of not having the knowledge to complete the seemingly impossible steps required by the federal program.

Gaylord Popp’s New Jersey SSA disability legal team can help you to get and keep the maximum amount of benefits and back pay you have coming to you.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Once you’ve received prison officer benefits, bills can still outpace your limited income. When you fall behind on your bills and the debt keeps mounting, you could be turned over to a New Jersey debt collector who subjects you to unfair and illegal practices. 

Got such debt? Call Gaylord Popp.

The Gaylord Popp law firm will help you learn about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and will tell you how you can protect yourself while you’re receiving correctional officer benefits.

Gaylord Popp Will Be There for You as the Battle Goes On

Thanks to its two-year campaign, the corrections officers union finally has won its fight to get the benefits that its members rightfully deserve.

As the sick leave pay law for corrections officers kicks in, and the law perhaps is strengthened or there are attempts to weaken it, you can make certain that Gaylord Popp will pick up the battle for you.

The firm understands, after all, that as a prison officer, you assume a significant deal of risk on the job every day and that you’re entitled to the same protections that other public safety officers in New Jersey receive.