Worker’s Compensation and Sick Time

Should I lose my sick time if I get hurt on the job?

If you are hurt on the job and you miss more than one week of work, then you are eligible to collect Worker’s Compensation lost wage benefits.

Compensation lost wage benefits pay workers at most two-thirds of the average (average is computed over the year preceding the accident) weekly pay and that two-thirds of the average may not exceed $1,145.43 (current rate) per week.

So if your employer uses your sick time while you are out out of work because of an on-the-job accident, then you are entitled to be reimbursed for that sick time at the compensation rate. For example, if your average weekly wage was $900 per week, then your compensation rate is $600 per week. Thus, if your employer used up 15 of your sick days while you are out on Worker’s Compensation, then you would only be reimbursed 10 days by Compensation because the Worker’s Compensation carrier would only reimburse your employer for two-thirds of the value of the sick days. Hence, you would get back 10 of the 15 sick days you had with with your employer.

The exception to this rule is something called the “waiting” period. The rule is that if you are out of work less that one week or less (5 days for for a typical 5 days per week worker), then you are entitled to no compensation benefits and you do not get back any sick time.

Scope of Worker’s Compensation

“I tripped and fell on my way into work and injured myself.  Can I make a worker’s compensation claim?”

The answer to this question is maybe.  Compensation covers injured workers hurt during working hours while at a work location.

If your accident occurred near your home or during your commute to work, the answer is no. Worker’s Compensation does not cover a worker the moment he or she leaves their home for work.  Compensation only covers accidents involving “ingress and egress” to and from work.  So if you drive to work and trip and fall walking from the company parking lot walking into work, then yes, you are covered by compensation.  But if you park in public parking and walk into work, then you are only covered if you are right next to the front door.

Similarly, if you are taking public transportation, then you are covered by compensation only if the accident occurrs adjacent to the door to your employer’s place of work.  Generally, that means just a few feet from the front door.  It does not mean a block away from the employer’s premises.