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Thread: company used sick time while on wc New Jersey

  1. #1
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    Angry company used sick time while on wc New Jersey

    Hi, I was injured on the job and was under the care of a wc doctor for about 4 months. The dr. put me on light duty right away . I worked for about 3 weeks on light duty and found out that my company has a policy that states in order for a person to work on ld the dr,the company, and the employee must agree to the terms of the modified work. if any one of the 3 do not agree then the employee may elect to stay home with no loss of pay.
    After working the ld for 3 weeks I felt that this was not helping me recover from my injury and informed my company that i was going to stay home to see if that helps with my recovery. Almost 7 weeks from the date of injury and after an mri it turned out that i had a torn minuscus and they sent me to an ortho dr. who said i need surgery and that he would put in the paperwork to get approved and that it would take about 2 wks for that to happen. Well another 7 weeks went by and after calling the ortho dr's office several times a week asking if the surgery was approved the dr's office finally got a letter of denial. So i have an attorney fighting this as we speak.
    Then i come to find out that this whole time that i have been out my company has been using my accrued sick time to pay me.
    So my question is ( phew about time huh ? ) can they make me use my sick time while under the care of a wc dr. ?

  2. #2
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    A couple of things jumped out at me right away.

    First, the "all three must agree" statement, relative to "no loss of pay". Generally speaking, if the work comp doctor states that you cannot work the light duty tasks, you would go back on work comp benefits, which are NOT full pay. Is your company self-insured for work comp or are benefits paid by the insurance company? You had that much sick pay on the books? Why weren't you receiving work comp benefits when you were out? This last question is what you need to ask your attorney.

    Secondly, you said that YOU informed the company that you felt that working light duty was not contributing to your recovery. What did the work comp doctor say?

    Was the leave FMLA-qualified?
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  3. #3
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    I felt that this was not helping me recover from my injury and informed my company that i was going to stay home to see if that helps with my recovery
    Dr/s make medical determinations in a WC claim, including your ability to continue working. When the employEE/Injured Worker voluntarily removes him/herself from the work place, sick leave may be used. Patty is right, you would only be eligible for TTD/Temp Total Disability or wage loss benefits if your Dr certifies ''disability''.
    Temporary Total Disability Benefits
    If an injured worker is disabled for a period of more than seven days, he or she will be eligible to receive temporary total benefits at a rate of 70% their average weekly wage, not to exceed 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) or fall below the minimum rate of 20% of the SAWW. These benefits are provided during the period when a worker is unable to work and is under active medical care.
    More on WC benefits in NJ is here http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wc/..._index.html#TT

    So my question is ( phew about time huh ? ) can they make me use my sick time while under the care of a wc dr. ? .
    Depends. Even with the details you provide.. can't tell what benefits may be due.

    for a person to work on ld the dr,the company, and the employee must agree to the terms of the modified work. if any one of the 3 do not agree then the employee may elect to stay home with no loss of pay.
    The Dr issues any restrictions for you to RTW, the ER provides the light duty accommodaton. IF the ER cannot provide the modified duty, or IW can't perform the functions of the job, the Dr would have to certify TTD elilgiblity. Policy or not, it would stand to reason all 3 would have to be in agreement.
    The wage loss issue though would be subject to any ER provided wage continuation plan in effect. You may or may not be paid wages vs disability benefits.
    ERs pay wages, IC's pay disability.

    There is info on FMLA here http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/finalrul...litaryFAQs.pdf

  4. #4
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    And info on Work Comp in NJ here:
    http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wc/...ers_index.html

    And, the FMLA question is also important.
    Last edited by Pattymd; 10-23-2010 at 07:42 AM.
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  5. #5
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    well as far as the " all three must agree" policy as i stated this is a company policy not a wc policy. As far as getting paid from wc , if the dr puts u on modified duty and ur employer can accommodate those duties then u do not get paid from wc but from ur employer because ur at work.
    Here's another policy that my company has; if an employee is injured and cannot come to work on light duty, while the employee gets paid from wc ( around 70% of their pay ) the company will pay the difference so the employee will still receive full pay until they come back to work.
    now as far as sick time; YES i had accrued that much as it just tallys up each year .
    So as u can see this is a very good job. But, can they do what i asked ? use my sick time even though i am under the care of a wc dr. ?

  6. #6
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    oh and the FMLA is a whole other issue. when i inquired about it at my work i was told that it had run concurrently with the wc. I looked up the regs about that and apparently an employer IS allowed to do that BUT they must inform the employee of it in writing which they did not.

  7. #7
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    Yes, they can do that, because there is no law stating that they can't. Many companies have what is called a "coordination of benefits" wherein they supplement TTD payments with leave time.
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