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Assembly Grants Final Legislative Approval to Sumter & Mukherji Bill to Ease Transition from Disability to Work

The Assembly on Thursday granted final legislative approval to a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda E. Sumter and Raj Mukherji that would establish a partial return to work program for residents receiving temporary disability insurance.

“Implementing a partial return to work program allows residents to ease back into working after being out on disability,” Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic) said. “It will help both employers and workers with the transition back into the workplace.”

“The bill’s intent is to allow workers to transition back to work by initially working on a part time basis, and to provide cost savings by reducing benefit costs during those transitions,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “A similar program has been implemented in Rhode Island in 2007, which has been reported to have seen savings every year in operation.”

Currently, the temporary disability insurance (TDI) law provides for benefits only during the time that the worker is completely unable to work due to the disability. The bill provides the part-time TDI benefit is the full-time TDI benefit amount minus the wages paid to the worker during a week.

The bill (A-3407), approved by a vote of 68-0, would permit the payment of TDI benefits on reduced basis to temporarily disabled workers who are otherwise eligible for TDI benefits but only able to return to work on a reduced basis while recovering form disability. In addition, the measure permits such partial benefits only after a worker has been completely unable to work due to a disability and receiving full TDI benefits for at least seven days.

Employers are not required under the bill to permit a worker to return to work on a reduced basis; and the worker will remain eligible for benefits until fully recovered from the disability benefits for a worker.

The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.