After more than a decade of ups and downs in the Legislature, state lawmakers and advocates have finally succeeded in passing critical legislation to improve benefits for New Jersey workers who lose function of all or part of a hand or foot in workplace accidents.
In addition to that measure – known as the Hand & Foot Bill – Governor Phil Murphy also signed off on legislation – the Collection Practices Bill – which better protects injured workers and families with pending workers’ comp cases from medical collections.
The two bills bring long-overdue updates to New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system, and our team at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. commends all those who never ceased in advocating for workers’ rights – including many of our firm’s own attorneys.
New Bills Bring Change to New Jersey Workers’ Compensation
The pair of workers’ compensation measures endorsed by Gov. Phil Murphy were just 2 of over 150 bills signed into law by the Democratic Governor on Monday, January 20 and Tuesday, January 21.
Among the new changes are laws to better protect law enforcement (the “Move Over Law”), improve transparency in health care and hospital systems, reform of the state’s juvenile justice system, and increase the state’s regulatory crackdown on the sale and distribution of vaping products, which have led to rising numbers of vaping illnesses and at least one death.
New Jersey Hand & Foot Bill (S-782)
A long time in the making, the passing of the Hand and Foot Bill (NJ S782) on Tuesday was a major victory for workers’ rights. Debated by lawmakers for more than 10 years, the bill was passed by a 62-10 vote in the state Assembly in December, and a unanimous 36-0 vote in the Senate on Monday. It had been previously vetoed in 2011 by former Gov. Chris Christie. The bill takes effect immediately.
Now that it is law, the Hand and Foot Bill will increase benefits for serious work-related hand and foot injuries which result in loss of function of the hand, certain fingers, or foot.
Our hands and feet are some of the most important parts of the body, allowing us to navigate our daily lives and tasks, and skilled tradesmen and laborers to perform their crafts and earn income. Our team knows this full-well, having backed the Hand and Foot Bill for many years – as does former carpenter and current union member Richard J. Marcolus, Partner of Levinson Axelrod, P.A.
After a bill drafted with the help of Partner Marcolus was signed into law in October 2018 (the Voluntary Tender Bill), Rich focused his efforts on rallying support for more legislative updates, and recently testified before the Senate and Labor Committees in support of the Hand and Foot Bill, the Collection Practices bill, and other important proposed laws.
Committed to Workers’ Comp Causes. Committed to Workers & Families.
Levinson Axelrod, P.A. is comprised of talented and passionate lawyers, many of whom are NJ Supreme Court Certified Workers’ Compensation or Civil Trial Attorneys, who are as committed to guiding clients through their cases as they are to supporting the rights of all workers, and desperately needed legislative changes to the state’s workers’ comp system.
As we express our gratitude for these new laws, and our thanks to everyone who played a role in raising support and awareness, we know there is still more work to be done – and will remain committed to backing causes that benefit our communities, our clients, and their families.