HR - Workers' Compensation - MA

Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include Massachusetts faculty and staff unless otherwise indicated in the sections below. All provisions of this policy apply, except that for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, this policy does not create any benefits not expressly provided by that collective bargaining agreement and if there are inconsistencies between this policy and the collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will govern. 

In the unfortunate event that faculty employees or staff employees are unable to work due to illnesses or injuries sustained at work (i.e., incidents), the College maintains Workers’ Compensation insurance that complies with federal, state and local laws. This policy provides information about work-related incidents, medical assistance, reporting requirements, leaves of absence resulting from work-related incidents, Workers’ Compensation benefits and return to work following work-related incidents.

Policy Guidelines

Eligibility

Regular full-time, regular part-time and temporary faculty and staff employees.

In general, injuries or illnesses resulting from voluntary participation in College-sponsored recreation or athletic events generally do not qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits.  

Prevention

The College is concerned about the safety and well-being of its employees and strives to provide a healthy work environment free of hazards. To prevent accidents, injury or illness the College expects all employees to practice safe working habits and to report immediately any unsafe conditions to their supervisors and/or responsible departments (i.e. Facilities Management, Campus Police, etc.). 

Medical Assistance and Work-Related Illnesses or Injuries

  • Personal Physician: Except for employees’ first scheduled appointments, which the College may require to be with healthcare professionals of the College’s choice, employees have the right to choose their own healthcare professional for treatment and to change their healthcare professional once.  
  • Medical Assistance – Urgent and Non-emergencies: In the event of a medical emergency, employees should immediately call the Emerson College Police Department (617-824-8888) or 911 for assistance.  For other incidents requiring medical assistance, employees should seek such assistance immediately.

Important Process and Reporting Requirements

Workers' Compensation is intended to protect employees against loss of income and/or medical expenses when they are absent from work because of an on-the-job injury or illness. Consequently, it is critical that work-related accidents be reported as follows:  

  • Employees must report all work-related injuries and illnesses to their supervisors as soon as they occur
  • Injuries or illnesses that develop gradually (like tendinitis or hearing loss) must be reported as soon employees learn or believe it is work-related 
  • Supervisors must call and report incidents to Human Resources immediately upon learning  of the incident
  • Within 24 hours of an incident, employees or their supervisors, as appropriate, must complete and return the First Report of Injury form to Human Resources.
  • Human Resources forwards the form to the College’s Workers’ Compensation vendor who:
    • Determines employees’ eligibility for Workers’ Compensation
    • Works directly with eligible employees
    • Coordinates medical and wage benefits for employees who qualify
    • Provides medical case management by a trained nurse or nurse practitioner
    • Provides medical expense and billing for each employee's individual case
    • Works directly with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), the agency responsible for administering Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts

Prompt reporting of illnesses or injuries helps avoid problems and delays in receiving benefits, including medical care. 

Absence from Work Following Work-Related Illness or Injury

  • First Five (5) Days of Absence: Staff employees must use sick time for the first five (5) days of absence from work (consecutive or intermittent) following a work-related illness or injury. The College’s Workers’ Compensation carrier will reimburse employees for a portion of their sick time if their Workers’ Compensation benefits continue beyond twenty-one days.
  • Faculty Employees: For foreseeable absences, Faculty must provide the Chair with advance written notice and must receive prior approval when absent for more than two sessions or when a weekly class is missed more than once in order to coordinate coverage or makeup sessions. In the case of unreported and/or excessive absences, the Chair notifies the Dean.  

Additional Leaves of Absence and Workers’ Compensation

Under our Personal Medical Leave policies, eligible employees will be placed on a medical leave of absence, as appropriate, if their absence from work due to work-related illnesses or injuries extends beyond five (5) days (see: Personal Medical Leaves (FMLA and Non-FMLA)). Under those policies, Medical Leaves are “unpaid” time away from work that employees may be eligible to take for medical reasons, including work-related illnesses or injuries. Workers’ Compensation is the means by which qualifying employees receive income replacement for work-related illness or injury during such leaves.   

Medical Documentation

Appropriate medical documentation will be required for employees to qualify for approved time away from work, medical leaves, and Workers’ Compensation. Employees should inform their healthcare providers that the illness or injury is work-related.

Worker’s Compensation Benefits and Use of Paid Time Off 

Eligible employees will begin receiving Workers’ Compensation payments on the sixth (6th) day of absence from work as follows:

  • Workers’ Compensation Income Replacement: Workers’ Compensation provides employees with 60% of their average weekly wage.   
  • Use of Sick, Personal and Vacation Time: Staff employees may elect to supplement their 60% Workers’ Compensation payment with their available sick time, then personal time and then vacation time. 
  • Other Workers’ Compensation Benefits: Workers’ Compensation may also cover payment of medical bills related to work-related illnesses or injuries, even if employees do not miss work. It may also cover reasonable costs of travel to and from medical visits and additional benefits for those more seriously injured. 

Return to Work

Employees must provide Human Resources with documentation from their medical provider clearing them to return to work following leave. Employees who are cleared to return to work with restrictions or on a part-time basis must contact Human Resources to discuss the circumstances. In some cases, it may not be possible for departments to accommodate an employee’s restriction(s) or need for a reduced hours schedule. If employees are unable to return with restrictions or on a part-time basis, they may be eligible to continue to receive Workers’ Compensation, but it may be at a reduced rate.

Other Information

Non-Retaliation

Emerson prohibits retaliation against any member of the community who in good faith reports unsafe or defective equipment, or any unsafe or hazardous condition, or any work-related illness or injury. Subject to Emerson’s policy concerning fraudulent claims, Emerson also prohibits retaliation against any employee who has applied for or used Workers’ Compensation benefits. 

Fraudulent Claims

Employees who file fraudulent claims may be subject to termination.

Related Policies

Key Offices to Contact 

Please contact the Leave of Absence Administrator (Human Resources) for further information regarding this policy and its implementation.  

Links to Procedures or Forms

Contact the Leave of Absence Administrator (Human Resources) for assistance.

Definitions

Not applicable

 

 

The contents of this policy are informational only and are not conditions of employment.  This policy does not create any contractual obligations or alter the at-will employment of the College’s at-will employees. Emerson College reserves the right to modify, revoke, suspend, terminate, or change any and all policies and procedures at any time, with or without notice, as consistent with state and federal law.

 

Policy Effective Date:  May 2019