Workers’ Compensation Benefits
This section has been reviewed and updated as needed: May 2014
Workers’ Compensation benefits are available to any employee who suffers disability through accident or occupational disease arising out of, and in the course of, his or her employment, according to the provisions of the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act.
All University employees, whether full-time, part-time, or temporary, are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
The full cost of medical treatment is covered by Workers’ Compensation if the injury/illness is compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Workers’ Compensation Leave Benefits
Employees who suffer lost work-time injuries or illnesses are eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation leave pay, equivalent to 66 ⅔ of their average weekly wage, with a maximum equal to the average wage in North Carolina. The maximum compensation rate is adjusted annually by the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
Leave on the Day of the Injury
Employees are not charged leave on the day of the injury if the primary treating physician provides the employee with a written statement instructing the employee not to return to work that day.
Leave Benefits Based on Length of Disability
- Lost Work-Time 7 Days or Less:
Workers’ Compensation Leave benefits are not payable if the lost work-time is seven calendar days or less. For payroll purposes, the lost work-time must be charged to Vacation Leave, Sick Leave, Bonus leave, or Leave Without Pay. The HR-28, Workers’ Compensation Leave Option, must be completed to choose leave for the seven-day waiting period.
- Lost Work-Time More Than 7 Days, Less Than 21 Days:
If the lost work-time exceeds seven days, but is less than twenty-one calendar days, the days in excess of seven days must be charged to Workers’ Compensation Leave.
- Lost Work-Time 21 Days or More:
If the lost work-time exceeds twenty-one days, the seven-day waiting period is waived and Workers’ Compensation Leave payments begin from the first day of disability, or the employee is reimbursed at the end of the twenty-one days.
Note: If the employee has used Vacation, Sick, and or Bonus Leave for the seven-day waiting period, that leave cannot be reinstated to his/her leave record.
Return to Work on a Part-time Basis
If the employee’s primary treating physician recommends return to work on a part-time basis, Workers’ Compensation Leave will continue, on a prorated basis, for the time not worked. Employees working part-time are not eligible for Vacation or Sick Leave supplements.
Follow-up Medical Visits
Upon return to work, if the employee continues to require medical or therapy treatments during regular working hours, neither Vacation nor Sick Leave will be charged. A reasonable amount of time for treatment will be recorded as work time by the employee and the supervisor may request a note from the employee that is signed by the medical facility verifying time charged to medical visit. Any excess time will be charged as Vacation, Sick, and or Bonus leave or leave without pay.
The immediate supervisor or designee is required to maintain regular contact with the employee who is out of work on Workers’ Compensation Leave. This contact should be made at least once a week to keep the employee informed about activities in his or her department and to anticipate when the employee may return to work.
Note: If the employee does not have a telephone or easy access to one, arrangements should be made for the employee to call the supervisor or the supervisor should arrange a personal visit with the employee at a convenient location and time.
The Workers’ Compensation Act of NC provides for payment of medical expenses and lost wages for injuries by accident or occupational disease arising out of, and in the course of employment. The medical care provider should be informed that the illness or injury is work-related at the time of treatment; however, if it is subsequently determined that the injury or illness was not in fact work-related, the employee will be responsible for payment of the medical fees to the care provider.
An employee may choose to supplement the Workers’ Compensation weekly benefit with Vacation, Sick, and/or Bonus Leave. The Vacation, Sick and/or Bonus Leave supplement may not exceed a maximum weekly total based on annual salary (See the NC Supplemental Leave Schedule). To choose the Workers’ Compensation supplement, an employee must check Option 2 on the Workers’ Compensation Leave Option, HR-28. Election may not exceed the employee’s earned leave balance prior to injury.
Permanent Disability Rating
Upon reaching maximum medical improvement, if a permanent disability exists, a settlement is made based on a schedule adopted by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The amount of the settlement is dependent on the employee’s salary at the time of injury and the percentage of disability determined by the primary treating physician.
Generally, short-term disability benefits are offset by Workers’ Compensation benefits. Please contact the Office of Human Resources, Benefits Department to determine eligibility.
An employee who is receiving Workers’ Compensation Leave pay or weekly payments from a settlement agreement is not eligible for long-term disability benefits until all Workers’ Compensation payments have been exhausted.
Workers’ Compensation Leave pay ceases when an employee retires, but weekly payments from a settlement agreement do not affect retirement benefits.