Work Injury in Washington State: Employers are Misusing Kept-on-Salary – Workers Compensation Legal Blogs Posted by Tara Reck, Esq.
The Ministry of Labor and Industry (L&I) has many initiatives and incentives. L&I develops incentive programs for employers to mitigate premium increases due to L&I damage costs. A program encourages employers to keep workers on salary while recovering from an accident at work or an occupational disease. When employees are unable to work after an accident at work, we generally refer to them as “temporarily and completely disabled”. During this time they are entitled to loss of time benefits.
What is withheld in your L&I application for salary?
L&I pays a time loss compensation amounting to 60% of the plaintiff’s wages at the time of the accident. In the case of self-insured employers, however, the employer insurance takes over these payments. Then, in some cases, the employer insurance premiums may rise as part of L&I or your insurance provider. L&I offers employers the opportunity to keep their employees on salaries. Therefore, employers can continue to pay the employee after an accident at work. As a result, the employer does not pay any loss of time during this time and his premiums do not increase.
Continued payment of wages after an accident at work or work accident means that the employer continues to pay wages and benefits as before. Here employers have to make constant payments without interruption on certain payment dates and pay periods. There are several payments that are not included in salary. For example, vacation pay, vacation pay, sick pay, or bereavement pay do not count. Shared vacation, severance payments and paid time off do not count as continued payment of wages. If an employer decides to reduce or discontinue benefits, he must notify L&I immediately. In fact, the employer has to inform L&I that he will keep an accident claimant from the salary. If this is the case, L&I sends the employer a letter in which all the relevant rules are explained.
The salary program in reality
Many people with an occupational accident claim who call my office tell me about their experiences. Unfortunately, I often see employers abusing the sick pay program. Whether intentional or accidental abuse, it often has serious negative consequences for people after an accident at work. In detail, I mainly encounter four common problems with the salary retention. The first problem is when employers tell the accident victim that they must first take sickness and paid time off or vacation. This often happens early in the L&I claims process, before workers even think about speaking to an industrial accident insurance attorney about their workers’ claims for damages. The second abuse occurs when the employer reduces the payments made by the accident claimant to the minimum wage. In some cases, they stop paying for certain benefits such as health care. Sometimes it is because the person who was injured at work does not accumulate hours of work.
Next, the third common problem is when the employer changes their mind and stops making payments. When this happens, I see employers making one payment on schedule and then failing to make the next payments. They often do not inform the accident victim in advance. In addition, employers often do not report this to L&I. Finally, after having failed to get any further with the employer, the person entitled to an accident at work can ask L&I to pay for the lost time. However, there may be additional delays while L&I checks whether the employer is not keeping the employee on wages. This can lead to significant delays in payment. Occasionally, this cycle occurs repeatedly throughout the process of managing employee compensation claims. Finally, the fourth common abuse is that payments are not made during certain payment periods. In this case, the person who suffered the accident at work cannot predict when they will receive payments. It’s incredibly stressful.
Personal opinion and comments
I have no problem with L&I creating incentive programs for employers. On the other hand. These incentive programs make a lot of sense and we need more of them. However, I certainly have a major problem when these programs harm individuals with an industrial accident claim. Many people who have an accident at work have so much to fear. For example, her recovery, finances, taking care of her family and many other concerns. You shouldn’t have to wonder if you will get your next payment while out of work.
If you are entitled to employee compensation and encounter any difficulties during your salary entitlement, you should notify your L&I claims manager immediately. You can also pick up the phone and contact an L&I attorney. Be safe and healthy. I wish all those injured at work a speedy recovery and a speedy return to work.
This article was first published on: https://tarareck.com/work-injury-kept-on-salary/
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Ms. Tara Reck is the senior L&I attorney at Reck Law – Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Washington State. If you would like further information, please contact Ms. Reck as follows:
* Seattle | Bellevue | Mercer Island Office: (206) 395-6141
* Tacoma Office: (253) 999-9828
* Renton office: (425) 800-8195
* Port Orchard Office: (360) 876-4123
* Email: [email protected]
* Your Workers’ Compensation blog at https://tarareck.com/contact/ or their company website at https://recklaw.com/contact/