Last Monday, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a measure that would have protected the workers' compensation rights of prison guards hurt on the job. The bill would have reversed "fiscal responsibility" measures enacted by Christie during his first term -- measures that stripped many injured public workers of their benefits rights.
The bill would have provided full benefits to prison workers hurt by attacking inmates. This would have ensured that prison guards receive the same level of benefits that New Jersey police officers receive. In striking the measure, Governor Christie stated that he was trying to find a balance between being fiscally responsible and providing benefits to government employees whose jobs involve keeping the public safe.
Meanwhile, New Jersey's corrections officers union has accused the governor of turning his back against the state's law enforcement personnel. The union, however, believes it can negotiate a compromise with Christie over the matter.
At this time, injured corrections officers can receive workers' compensation benefits, which include wage replacement benefits. However, wage replacement benefits usually provide only two-thirds of a worker's salary. Police officers, on the other hand, can receive full pay when they are hurt on duty.
If lawmakers create a new version of the bill, both houses will need to approve it before it goes back to the governor's desk. If lawmakers and the governor can come to an agreement, though, it may be possible to get corrections officers their desired level of benefits.
Were you hurt in the line of duty as a police officer or a corrections officer? A New Jersey workers' compensation lawyer may be able to help you seek valuable benefits to pay for your medical care and time spent away from work.
Source: nj.com, "Christie vetoes bill for corrections officers hurt in N.J. prisons," S.P. Sullivan, May 01, 2017