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Can I get salary continuation after suffering workplace injuries?

Ohio workers who suffer workplace injuries will know about workers' compensation benefits. There are, however, certain alternatives to workers' compensation if the worker is eligible for it. An example is salary continuation. With salary continuation, a worker can get wages in lieu of temporary total compensation. This allows the employer to pay the employee the full wages they received when working.

Except in cases where there is a collective bargaining agreement that says otherwise, the worker can accept or reject salary continuation. If it is rejected, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation can pay TT. The salary continuation can move forward until either the employer or the worker terminates it. Then, if the worker is eligible, it will be possible for them to get TT. If the employer is not paying the regular full wages, the BWC can pay TT if a request for it has been made and there is supporting medical evidence. The employee should not have a break in service time that will have a negative impact on seniority or other benefits. The employer cannot coerce the employee to use sick time while salary continuation is being paid unless it is in the CBA.

The employer: must pay full and on time; cannot wait until the worker has missed 14 consecutive days to pay the initial seven days of disability - when the worker will clearly miss eight days, it must be paid; will not be obligated to pay if the worker will miss fewer days; must notify the BWC of the preference to pay salary continuation; and must report the earnings in writing.

In addition, there must be a salary continuation agreement; the payments should only be made due to disability based on the specific claim; the employer will be informed by the BWC if the worker is still working other jobs while getting salary continuation; the employer may pay what the worker earned before the injury even if the job upon returning to work is different and would have a lower wage; the employer must inform the BWC of discontinuing salary continuation; the employer can schedule an independent medical examination; the employer cannot pay salary continuation for wage loss, permanent partial, permanent total, or death awards; and the employer cannot pay salary continuation to a worker who is no longer employed at the company.

Salary continuation might be a viable option for workers who are able to get it and meet the criteria. It is also important for employers to fully understand the requirements related to this program. A legal professional can help with this and any other issue related to workers' compensation.

Source: bwc.ohio.gov, "Salary Continuation," accessed on Feb. 6, 2018

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