THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES (COLA) SALARY CONTINUATION PLAN AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Some Employees of the County of Los Angeles(COLA) have special provisions per the Los Angeles County Code.   The County Code has provisions that allow for salary continuation benefits in the event of an industrial injury.

This article will discuss the County of Los Angeles Code Section 6.20.070, with respect to Civilian Employees, and how this Section applies to Injured Workers.

Who Is Eligible for Salary Continuation Benefits?

Essentially, individuals who have passed either a physical or probation and are not entitled to Labor Code Section 4850 benefits are eligible for salary continuation benefits.

This provision is eligible for County Workers who “(1) [a]ll county employees who have either satisfactorily passed the physical examination as required by the Civil Service Rules, or who have successfully completed their initial probationary period shall be eligible and (2) The eligibility of certain classes of employees designated in Section 4850 of the Labor Code shall be in accordance with the provisions of that section.”

What Benefits Are They Entitled To Receive?

The Salary Continuation Law allows Eligible Injured Workers to “receive the difference between 70.0 percent of his base salary and the sum of the benefits prescribed by the worker’s compensation laws of the state of California and earnings from other employment, when such earnings are less than 70.0 percent of his base salary”

Note: Workers’ Compensation benefits pay 2/3rd of one’s average weekly wage upon to a scheduled maximum rate.   In essence, this payment of 66.66 percent of one’s salary.

Therefore, essentially 3.33 percent in additional funds if the Injured Worker’s earnings are lower than or at the maximum workers’ compensation total temporary disability rate.   For Individuals who earn substantially more than the maximum workers’ compensation total temporary disability rate, the additional funds can be much greater and are dependent upon the amount of wage.

How Long Are They Eligible to Receive Benefits?

Essentially, the Salary Continuation Law pays for the period of one year from the date of injury.  There are exceptions which will be discussed below.

Note: It is important to note that Salary Continuation is not paid for a period of one year.   It is only paid during the period from one year from the date of injury.  If that period is one year, then it will be paid.   If the period claimed goes beyond one year from the date of injury, then the Injured Worker will not be eligible for the period beyond the year.   This is the case even though the Injured Worker may not have used up all of the Salary Continuation time within the period of the year from the date of the injury.

This rule applies, “except that any person employed on a daily recurrent basis as an Ocean Lifeguard (Item No. 2923E) or on an hourly recurrent basis as a Lake Lifeguard (Item No. 2953H) shall be entitled to receive the benefits set forth in this subsection C for a period not to exceed one year from the date of injury or a period equal to the employee’s cumulative active service performed on or after July 1, 1985, whichever is less. Effective beginning on and after April 1, 2010, or such later date as may be determined by the Chief Administrative Officer when the human resources management system reflecting this provision is implemented, 70.0 percent of base salary as described in this section shall be calculated at the Calendar-Day Hourly Rate”.

How Do These Rules Apply if the Claim Is Denied?

If a claim is denied at the onset an Injured Worker may have used their previously earned vacation, sick, nonelective annual leave, holiday time, or overtime during their period of disability.  The County Code provision provides that “In the event an employee is absent due to an injury incurred on or after January 1, 1981, and the absence is charged to any previously earned vacation, sick leave, non-elective annual leave, accumulated holiday time or accumulated overtime, and subsequently the injury is determined to be compensable by the director of personnel or the worker’s compensation appeals board, 70.0 percent of such vacation, sick leave, non-elective annual leave, holiday time, or overtime shall be restored to the employee. The remaining 30.0 percent shall be lost. Restorable time shall be calculated to the nearest 15-minute increment, and such restoration shall be deemed full recovery of any overpayment resulting from the operation of this paragraph.”

It should be noted that “[o]nce the injury is determined to be compensable, no employee may use any previously earned vacation, sick leave, nonelective annual leave, accumulated holiday time, or overtime to supplement the compensation provided in this section except as provided in subsections D1 and D2”

Subsections D1 and D2 provide that an exception to claiming accrued time after the year after the date of injury. “D1. To receive only those benefits provided under the worker’s compensation laws of the state of California; and D2 To use any full-pay or part-pay sick leave to which he would be entitled pursuant to Sections 6.20.010 through 6.20.060 if his injuries had not arisen out of or in the course of his employment in order to receive the difference between his sick-leave pay and the sum of his worker’s compensation benefits and earnings from other employment, when such sum is less than said sick-leave pay. When sick leave has been exhausted, the employee may elect to receive the alternative set forth in paragraphs 1 or 3 of this subsection D;”

In sum, when there is a delayed claim or denied claim that eventually becomes accepted as industrial, the Injured Worker is entitled to have their time restored up to 70 percent.   Likewise, there is a mechanism to claim use of accrued time post-one year from the date of injury.

Are There Any Limits When One Is Receives These Benefits?

Yes. There are some limitations.  Individuals who are absent “under provisions of subsection D1 of this section shall not earn any vacation, sick leave, nonelective annual leave or holiday for the duration of such absence.”

In sum, benefits are not accrued when an Injured Worker is collecting state rate workers’ compensation during their second year of being disabled.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

 

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