Section 21.8 Workers' Compensation Leave - June 15, 1990
TO: State Departments and Agencies
This Bulletin seeks to clarify certain issues that have been brought to our attention by agency staff administering the workers' compensation benefit. These issues are: the recrediting of personal leave; the treatment of absences in connection with doctor's visits; and accident reporting criteria.
I. Recrediting of Personal Leave
The purpose of this item is to clarify the limitations on the recrediting of personal leave.
Employees covered by the Supplemental Pay Program are entitled to have leave accruals that they charged during the first 39 weeks of compensable absence, as determined by the State Insurance Fund (SIF) or the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB), recredited to them when they return to work, are placed on the supplemental payroll, or are separated, whichever occurs first. This recrediting includes personal leave. None of the provisions for recrediting, however, supersede the Attendance Rules which state that: "Personal leave shall not be cumulative, and any personal leave credits remaining unused by an employee on the date immediately preceding the anniversary date...shall be cancelled." In other words, personal leave is available for one year from the date it is credited. Personal leave cannot be recredited beyond the date it expired.
When an employee charges personal leave while waiting to be placed on the supplemental payroll and the personal leave anniversary date passes prior to recrediting of the used personal leave, the employee is credited with new personal leave days on the anniversary date and is not recredited with previously used personal leave.
II. Doctor Visits and Therapy Treatments after an Employee has Returned to Work
The purpose of this item is to clarify the Supplemental Pay Program benefits available for short-term absences related to an employee's workers' compensation case, such as doctor's appointments, after return to work.
The design of the Supplemental Pay Program requires that an employee who is absent due to a workers' compensation disability initially charge that absence to leave credits. The credits charged during the first 39 weeks of disability are recredited, as noted in (I.) above, when the absences have been determined compensable by the SIF or WCB.
After an employee has returned to work following an accident, and perhaps an initial period of disability, occasional absences related to his/her workers' compensation case, such as doctor visits or therapy treatments, may occur. These absences must initially be charged to leave credits as all absences are charged. Until these absences are deemed compensable by the WCB following a hearing, the supplemental pay benefit will not be provided and agencies are precluded from recrediting the time charged.
These Supplemental Pay Program procedures differ from the provisions of the Leave Program which allow for the granting of workers' compensation leave with pay without charge to credits for all absences related to an occupational disability, up to the 6-month entitlement, including those due to disability, doctor visits, medical treatments and even WCB hearings.
III. Reporting Accidents per Section 110 of the Workers' Compensation Law
The purpose of this item is to confirm the accident reporting criteria established by the Workers' Compensation Law. A December 19, 1989 memorandum from the Governor's Office of Employee Relations advised that Section 110 of the Workers' Compensation Law (WCL) had been modified to authorize the Workers' Compensation Board, as well as the courts, to impose a penalty of up to $500 on employers for refusal or failure to report accidents within the 10 days required by that...
section. This amendment has no effect on the established criteria that should be used in determining whether an accident is reportable in the first instance.
Section 110 WCL states that an accident should be reported if it meets any one of the following conditions:
If an accident does not meet any of the above criteria, the accident report should be completed and retained by the agency for use if the case becomes reportable in the future. Agencies are reminded that the accident information in the Department of Civil Service database, the Occupational Disability Data System (ODDS), is taken directly from the State Insurance Fund's automated records of accidents. Therefore, individual agency and statewide information is only as accurate as the information initially reported.
Agencies are encouraged to review their reporting procedures to ensure that reportable accidents are filed in a timely manner. Agencies are encouraged also to file only those accidents meeting the above conditions.
Staff from the Employee Relations Section are available to agency staff on specific matters, including attendance and leave administration, agency/facility specific accident experience data, and other workers' compensation issues. For assistance or further information, please call the Employee Relations Section at (518) 457-5167.