Questions from RISK Seminar
Question: Could I please get a copy of your modified duty program and the accident report investigation forms mentioned by Robin Weltens?
Answer: I have requested the forms and will post them to the website once they have been received.
Question: How long do employees have to report an injury if we do not have a district policy that addresses the time frame?
Answer: The workers’ comp statute states that an employee has 30 days to report an accident/incident. However, also included in the statute is a 2 year statute of limitations beginning from the date of injury. So, an employee has a wide window of reporting time. It is best to allow the employee to report the claim and then have the insurance carrier conduct the investigation to determine compensability.
The district may adopt a policy requiring employees to report claims within a specific time period, but even if the employee doesn’t follow that policy the claim cannot be denied based on the fact that it wasn’t reported in a timely manner. If the district has a policy that requires reporting claims in a specific time period and the employee doesn’t follow the policy, you may follow your discipline procedures regarding consequences for not following policy but the claim would still need to be reported.
Question: Is it okay for an employee to be on medication while on light duty?
Answer: If a doctor has released an employee to work light/modified duty, the doctor is verifying that the medication the employee is taking is safe to take while working. When a doctor releases an employee to light/modified duty, the doctor has been made aware of the requirements of the job and has based their decision to release the employee back to work on what would be safe in that given working environment.
Question: If you have an employee (say a teacher) that is not a 12 month employee, but has their pay spread over 12 months and the employee comes to the school during the break and gets injured would that be covered under workers’ compensation?
Answer: The answer is, it depends. If the employee comes to the school during the summer break to meet with the counselor to discuss their child’s schedule for the coming year and are injured while they are at the school, the answer would be no. The individual is acting as a parent not an employee of the district when the accident occurred.
Take the same employee and they come to the school to work on their classroom for the coming year. If they are injured while working in their classroom, the answer would likely be yes. Even though the employee is not under contract during the summer months, it has been standard practice to allow teachers to work in their room over the summer. If there is no policy prohibiting this and if no employees have ever been written up and reprimanded for working in their rooms during the summer months, the assumption would be that it is an allowed practice and the injury would be covered under workers’ compensation.
Question: With Corvel, you enter the data into the computer if I get doctor’s excuses, or other documents do I need to fax this information to you? Or, do I need to fax all information, final supervisor’s report, employee’s report, choice of physician after I enter all information into computer to Care MC/Corvel?
Answer: Any documentation that you complete or receive from an employee should be faxed to CorVel so that it can be made a part of the claims file. The more information provided to the adjusters, the better they are able to manage the claim.
Question: Can we get a copy of the list of light/moderate job duties mentioned by Cathy Garner, Harrison County?
Answer: The documents are posted on the MSBA website. They have been posted as word documents so that you may edit them specifically for your district.
Question: I would like to get a copy of what “business manager” (I think) said regarding reason for teacher being in classroom. This was very well-written and succinct. This was during “Rehearsal in Real Time” Safety Committee Meeting.
Answer: The Script for “Rehearsal in Real Time” has been posted below.
Question: What is the name of the policy posted on the MDE website that Cathy Garner referenced in her talk?
Answer: Below is a link to the State Model (template) of the Emergency Response and Crisis Plan. Follow the link and save the template and modify it according to the District's policy. This is the plan the Harrison County School District updated and utilized for their Emergency Response and Crisis Grant. This plan was also utilized by the United States Department of Education as a model for other states. The first portion - Part I of the plan deals with the Occupational Safety Plan.
Robert Laird and/or Don Criswell with MDE are contacts for any questions.
Question: Can WC information be kept in the medical/insurance file or does it need to be in a separate file and cabinet? (I am not referring to personnel file.)
Answer: It would be best to keep a separate file on any workers’ compensation claims. If at any point in the future that the claim was litigated and the file subpoenaed, you would only have workers’ comp related issues in the file rather than a mix of workers’ comp and other medical/insurance related issues.
Question: Can we have access to powerpoints of some of or all of the presentations?
Answer: The presentations are posted below.
Question: An employee is out of work due to a work related injury. The employee chose not to use their accrued leave concurrently with their 12 weeks of FMLA leave. They have exhausted their FMLA leave but have 30 days of paid leave left. Can the district terminate the employee based on their job no longer being protected because FMLA leave has been exhausted even though they still have paid leave left?
Answer by Jim Keith: Once an employee has exhausted FMLA, that employee can be terminated if it is necessary to fill the position, even though the employee on leave has accumulated leave still available. The question will be whether other employees have been terminated with a similar amount of absences and no FMLA protection. For example, suppose an employee has exhausted 60 days of FMLA but still has 25 days of accumulated leave left. Absences taken under the FMLA cannot be held against the employee. So if the employee is on day 12 past the last day of FMLA, would the District terminate someone with only 12 days of absence and someone who has paid leave available? (Remember, the FMLA days are not to be considered). For this example, I think the employee would be able to show that plenty of employees have more than 12 days of absence and have not been terminated. Bottom line: if an employee has paid leave available, then it could be problematic if that employee is terminated with leave still available. Once the amount of leave continues to accrue, then the ability to terminate becomes better. As you can see, this is not a yes or no answer but one that requires analysis of all available facts.
Question: If you have an employee that does not qualify for job protection under the FMLA, should the district still send a letter out making them aware that they have no job protection when they are off duty?
Answer by Jim Keith: If an employee is out on extended leave (more than 3 days), it is a good idea to inform that person of his/her leave status with regard to FMLA and amount of paid leave available. In that way, there will be no confusion and the employee will understand why they are not getting paid once paid leave expires.
Question: Since there is a 5 day waiting period under the work comp statute, do you allow employees to take their accrued leave during those 5 days? There was some discussion about waiting to see if the employee missed 14 days which would trigger the comp carrier to go back and pay for the first 5 days. That situation seemed to be the most confusing because you might not know for a pay period or two whether the employee would miss enough days to trigger the carrier to pick up the first 5 days. Suggestions?
Answer by Jim Keith: You can allow employees to take accrued leave during the first five days of absence. At that time you do not know if the injury will qualify for WC. If the WC carrier does go back eventually and pays for the first five days, then I see no reason to go back and try to get the paid leave days back. I would leave it as it stands. I haven't researched this point but this seems to be the only logical approach.
Loss Prevention and Employee Safety Management Presentation
Modified Duty Examples:
Central Office Staff
CDC Teacher Assistant
Custodial Grounds Duties
Rehearsal in Real Time Presentation
Hacking Through the Paperwork Jungle Presentation
Safety Committees Presentation