A new job is exciting, and the last thing you’re probably anticipating is an injury when you show up for your very first day.
Nevertheless, accidents happen, especially on hazardous worksites where injuries are an occupational hazard.
Fortunately, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits from the moment you are employed. You could be on the job for 5 minutes, get hurt, and receive benefits.
The process is exactly the same. You report your injury to the supervisor and they send you to a doctor. Your treatment should be covered.
The process is only slightly complicated by the fact that you won’t have paystubs or a work history to draw a salary from in the event that you need to take time off work to heal. You’re eligible for up to 70% of your weekly wage, but what is that amount?
When that happens, employers will generally draw on your offer letter and the number of hours you were hired to work. If you were hired to work 40 hours at $20 an hour, then they’ll use that weekly wage. You’ll then receive 70% of that wage while you are off work.
This does not mean that taking an injury in the early stages of your relationship with an employer won’t cause complications. If you need to be put on light duty you might find employers attempting to ignore doctor’s orders, or attempting to make life unpleasant for you so you quit.
In addition, an employer has no obligation to hold your job if “at a certain point” your inability to return to work places significant pressure on the workplace, and if your time has run out under the Family and Medical Leave Act. If you’re out of work for twelve weeks or longer your job may not be there for you when you are ready to return. However, on September 24, 2021, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law that requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide a hiring preference following a work related injury. Employers aren’t required to make a new position for you, but if you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, they’re supposed to consider you for new positions before hiring someone else.
You also have the right to ask for reasonable accommodations for your position if your injury continues to cause problems.