SENATE, No. 2004










An Act to exclude direct sellers from the definition of employee in the workers' compensation law and amending R.S.34:15-36.


    Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


    1. R.S. 34:15-36 is amended to read as follows:

    34:15-36. "Willful negligence" within the intent of this chapter shall consist of (1) deliberate act or deliberate failure to act, or (2) such conduct as evidences reckless indifference to safety, or (3) intoxication, operating as the proximate cause of injury, or (4) unlawful use of a controlled dangerous substance as defined in the "New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act," P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-1 et seq.).

    "Employer" is declared to be synonymous with master, and includes natural persons, partnerships, and corporations; "employee" is synonymous with servant, and includes all natural persons, including officers of corporations, who perform service for an employer for financial consideration, exclusive of (1) employees eligible under the federal "Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act," 44 Stat. 1424 (33 U.S.C.§901 et seq.), for benefits payable with respect to accidental death or injury, or occupational disease or infection; [and] (2) casual employments, which shall be defined, if in connection with the employer's business, as employment the occasion for which arises by chance or is purely accidental; or if not in connection with any business of the employer, as employment not regular, periodic or recurring; provided, however, that forest fire wardens and forest firefighters employed by the State of New Jersey shall, in no event, be deemed casual employees; and (3) services of a direct seller as defined in 26 U.S.C.§3508 (b)(2).

    Employment shall be deemed to commence when an employee arrives at the employer's place of employment to report for work and shall terminate when the employee leaves the employer's place of employment, excluding areas not under the control of the employer; provided, however, when the employee is required by the employer to be away from the employer's place of employment, the employee shall be deemed to be in the course of employment when the employee is engaged in the direct performance of duties assigned or directed by the employer; but the employment of employee paid travel time by an employer for time spent traveling to and from a job site or of any employee who utilizes an employer authorized vehicle shall commence and terminate with the time spent traveling to and from a job site or the authorized operation of a vehicle on business authorized by the employer. Travel by a policeman, fireman, or a member of a first aid or rescue squad, in responding to and returning from an emergency, shall be deemed to be in the course of employment.

    Employment shall also be deemed to commence when an employee is traveling in a ridesharing arrangement between his or her place of residence or terminal near such place and his or her place of employment, if one of the following conditions is satisfied: the vehicle used in the ridesharing arrangement is owned, leased or contracted for by the employer, or the employee is required by the employer to travel in a ridesharing arrangement as a condition of employment.

    "Disability permanent in quality and partial in character" means a permanent impairment caused by a compensable accident or compensable occupational disease, based upon demonstrable objective medical evidence, which restricts the function of the body or of its members or organs; included in the criteria which shall be considered shall be whether there has been a lessening to a material degree of an employee's working ability. Subject to the above provisions, nothing in this definition shall be construed to preclude benefits to a worker who returns to work following a compensable accident even if there be no reduction in earnings. Injuries such as minor lacerations, minor contusions, minor sprains, and scars which do not constitute significant permanent disfigurement, and occupational disease of a minor nature such as mild dermatitis and mild bronchitis shall not constitute permanent disability within the meaning of this definition.

    "Disability permanent in quality and total in character" means a physical or neuropsychiatric total permanent impairment caused by a compensable accident or compensable occupational disease, where no fundamental or marked improvement in such condition can be reasonably expected.

    Factors other than physical and neuropsychiatric impairments may be considered in the determination of permanent total disability, where such physical and neuropsychiatric impairments constitute at least 75% or higher of total disability.

    "Ridesharing" means the transportation of persons in a motor vehicle, with a maximum carrying capacity of not more than 15 passengers, including the driver, where such transportation is incidental to the purpose of the driver. This term shall include such ridesharing arrangements known as carpools and vanpools.

    "Medical services, medical treatment, physicians' services and physicians' treatment" shall include, but not be limited to, the services which a chiropractor is authorized by law to perform and which are authorized by an employer pursuant to the provisions of R.S.34:15-1 et seq.

(cf: P.L.1994, c.74, s.1)


    2. This act shall take effect immediately.





    This bill provides that direct sellers are not employees under the provisions of the workers' compensation law. Under federal law, a direct seller is defined as a person: who engages in the trade or occupation of selling consumer products in the home or otherwise than in a permanent retail establishment; whose remuneration for the performance of services is directly related to sales or other output rather than to the number of hours worked; and who performs the services under a written contract which provides that the person will not be treated as an employee with respect to those services.




Exempts direct sellers from the provisions of the workers' compensation law.