BWC Salary Continuation Rules Revised
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) revised its policies regarding the payment of salary continuation. The revisions took effect on January 1, 2003.
Salary continuation occurs when the employer continues an employee’s regular wages at the onset of a work-related injury. Under current guidelines, an injured worker must now receive a full check at the next scheduled time after an injury or illness occurs. (Payment of salary continuation cannot wait until a BWC/Industrial Commission determination is made.) If a claimant does not receive a scheduled paycheck on time, the employer forfeits the right to pay salary continuation in lieu of temporary total disability benefits.
Further, the employer must notify the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation within seven days of an accident if they intend to pay salary continuation in lieu of temporary total. They are also required to submit a salary history at that time.
If at some point an employer decides that they no longer wish to pay salary continuation, the employer must notify the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation immediately, and must notify the BWC of a return to work within 72 hours. Failure to do so may have an impact on the employer’s future ability to again pay salary continuation.
Salary continuation will continue until either the claimant returns to work, the injured worker or employer terminates it, or unless the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation discovers that the injured worker is not receiving his/her full wages as part of the salary continuation agreement. At that point, the Bureau will begin paying temporary total disability compensation, and a reserve will be set for the claim.
Although the injured worker has the right to refuse to receive salary continuation in lieu of temporary total disability compensation, there is an incentive for the injured worker to accept salary continuation. Temporary total disability compensation is not paid until a claim is allowed, which often involves a much longer period of time to wait for payment.
If you have any further questions regarding the appropriateness of paying salary continuation, please contact Tom Stefanik at (216) 447-1551.