Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter, Raj Mukherji, Eliana Pintor Marin and Benjie Wimberly to establish a partial return to work program for residents receiving temporary disability insurance was signed into law Monday.
Prior to the legislation, the temporary disability insurance (TDI) law provided for benefits only during the time that the worker was completely unable to work due to the disability. The law mandates that the part-time TDI benefit is the full-time TDI benefit amount minus the wages paid to the worker during a week.
The law (A-1980) permits the payment of TDI benefits on a reduced basis to temporarily disabled workers who are otherwise eligible for TDI benefits but only able to return to work on a part-time basis while recovering from a disability. In addition, the law 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.
“Implementing a partial return to work program allows residents to ease back into working after being out on disability,” said Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic). “It will help both employers and workers with the transition back into the workplace.”
“The law’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 was implemented in Rhode Island in 2007 and has been reported to have seen savings every year in operation.”
“This is pro-worker legislation,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “With so many residents struggling to make ends meet, we have to ensure that those who unfortunately suffer a disability are treated fairly.”
“Sometimes a person with a disability cannot return to work full-time right away,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic). “A partial return to work program will help families as they readjust to their work schedules. It might also allow residents to return to work sooner.”
Employers are not required under the law 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.