The Internet and increased mobility are changing the way many businesses are structured. It wouldn’t be surprising if an office of 30 in New Jersey only had five or six employees that actually lived and worked in the area. As these business structures and the physical demands on employees change, the NJ workers compensation laws have tried to keep pace.
Yet, in certain instances, employees now fall outside the bounds of NJ workers compensation. Are you one of these employees?
#1: Remote Employees Working Outside New Jersey
Remote work is changing the landscape of America’s workforce. More people are working from home or coffee shops. Five years ago, these were the rogue workers of corporate America, but no longer. Today, many reputable and established businesses allow employees to work on a remote basis, and several NJ companies even allow employees to work out-of-state.
These remote employees may not be entitled to NJ workers compensation. Under the current law, an NJ employer is required to provide workers’ compensation benefits to an employee that works in the state or signed their employment agreement in the state. If you are an employee from Ohio, that lives, works, signed your employment agreement outside New Jersey, and has no physical contact with New Jersey – you aren’t covered by NJ workers compensation.
#2: Employees Covered by a Federal Program
One of the narrow exceptions to NJ workers compensation applies to those employees covered by a federal program. For the most part, this is limited to employees of a government agency or administrative office. The largest federal program is delineated in the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act and implemented by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs of the U.S. Department of Labor.
While this federal program covers civilian employees, private employers don’t qualify, and a private employer shouldn’t claim that you or the business is exempt from NJ workers compensation on this basis.
#3: Certain Employees Working Overseas
The obligations of a New Jersey employer to expats or overseas employees are a bit murky. Rarely do employees or insurance companies outright offer NJ workers compensation when these employees are injured, but there is some indication in New Jersey court decisions that they should when an employee is permanent or indefinitely based overseas but from New Jersey.
Employees that are hired outside the United States, for example, those hired in London to work in London, aren’t covered by NJ workers compensation.
The grounds for covering employees injured overseas on a temporary or short-term assignment are just as confusing. Best practices indicate that employers should purchase provide extraterritorial coverage for employees heading out-of-state or overseas for a week or other short period of time. Similarly, foreign voluntary workers compensation insurance is recommended if employees are regularly out of the country.
Employers don’t always follow these best practices or implement the coverage correctly. In these cases, it can be an uphill battle for an employee to show how and where an injury occurred. Speaking with an NJ workers compensation attorney can help.
#4: Independent Contractors and Freelance Workers
NJ workers compensation only covers employees. Independent contractors and freelancers are explicitly not covered. For both employers and workers, accurately determining if a person is an employee or independent contractor is essential.
Some of the considerations are: whether the employer has control over where, when and how the individual does his or her job; are expenses of the individual reimbursed; whether the individual files separate self-employment taxes; whether or not a W-2 is provided by the employer; and whether or not the individual has other clients or customers that require significant time and attention.
#5: Employees with an Undisclosed Second Job
One benefit of NJ workers compensation is temporary or disability for lost wages because of a workplace injury. Usually, an employee can recover a percentage of all their lost wages. The exception is when a primary employer is unaware or uninformed of the second place of employment. Lost wages from an undisclosed job are not part of the workers compensation benefits in the Garden State.
Ask an NJ Workers Compensation Attorney
Were you injured at work, but uncertain if your employer is responsible for workers compensation? You need to speak with an NJ workers compensation attorney. Albert J. Talone is an experienced workers compensation attorney here in New Jersey with a reputation of successfully assisting clients through the entire claim process. Call our New Jersey office at (856)-234-4023.
The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only. This information may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from The Law Office of Albert J. Talone or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.