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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Default Use of Borrowed Vacation Time While a Worker's Comp Claim is Pending

    My question involves workers compensation law for the state of: California

    Good evening,

    My wife works for a government entity in Southern California, and she is a member of the union.

    She was completely out for two weeks with a keyboard-related injury to her wrist. She did not ask for a workers comp claim at all, but got kicked up to this level anyway.

    While out for two weeks, she visits the designated chiropractor every other day (chiro's recommendation) and was WC-approved for 12 visits, which he took full advantage of.

    For two additional weeks, her chiro recommended her back to work, but on half-day schedules.

    This entity (her employer) has a blanket policy of "borrowing" time from her own earned vacation time, until the worker's comp claim is fully approved, which her supervisor estimated at 3 months time.

    Is this legal or approved activity in California? This is a material number of hours for us, 103 hours of time off has been evaporated over the past 4 weeks.

    Also, we have not personally had this happen, yet, but she was also told that, upon claim approval, she will receive 70% of her time back only, not the 100% they took out. (103 hrs)

    Is this legal?

    Both of these things seem not-right, but I have been unsuccessful figuring out if either of these are WC-approved activities or legal.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide, if you could be so kind as to include any WC statutes or legal references to your opinions.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Borrowed Time, and 70% Given Back After Approved

    The wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly in California government and it sometimes takes up to 30 days for a worker's comp claim to be reviewed and approved by the employing agency's insurance carrier (usually State Fund). Absent that approval, an employee cannot be paid for missed work unless they burn leave credits to cover their absences. Not knowing what agency your wife works for I can't quote you the relevant city, county or state law that prohibits paying an employee for work they don't perform, but if you look in the California Constitution you will find a prohibition against making a gift of public funds.

    So pending approval of her claim, your wife will need to burn leave credits for her absences if she wants to continue to collect a full pay check. Once claim approval is received, Industrial Leave credits (IDL) are granted for the authorized absence period and the leave that was burned is credited back in the books.

    Although unusual, I suspect your wife can elect not to burn leave credits. For the moment, this will lessen her check by the amount of hours not worked. In addition, if she does not work enough hours each month to qualify for certain employer paid benefits such as health insurance, she will have to pay for them out of her own pocket. However, once her claim is approved she should receive lump sum back pay and be retroactively reimbursed for any out of pockets for health and other benefits she did not qualify for due to lack of hours.

    In short, play by the system rules. They are working for your wife's benefit and not trying to scr*w her.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Use of Borrowed Vacation Time While a Worker's Comp Claim is Pending

    in order to legally challenge the bookkeeping practice your wife would have to show how she was "grieved" or harmed.
    if your wife chose not to use her leave credits to guarentee her paycheck, she would join the many other workers who routinely fight the delays, errors, and denials that often occur when trying to receive their temporary disability in a timely manner.
    I suspect it was negotiated as a benefit of the union contract.
    you wife should check the union contract. many agencies have negotiated contracts that require the comp payments to be supplemented by leave credits.
    whether this supplement policy is optional or not would depend on the provisions of the union contract.


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