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Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Section 518

Eligibility

All employees of Smith College are covered by the Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Insurance Law. Workers' Compensation Insurance provides partial income replacement and medical care payments for employees who experience a job-related injury or illness. If death results, benefits are payable to a surviving spouse and dependents or to the employee’s estate as defined by law. Coverage is automatic upon employment. Workers' Compensation Insurance is paid for entirely by the college.

Reporting an Accident

If you are injured at work or while performing a job-related function required by the college, you must report the accident to your supervisor as soon as possible and complete a First Report of Job-Related Accident form within 24 hours.

The college must report all accidents to the workers' compensation insurance company.  The insurance company has the responsibility for investigating all claims and determining eligibility for workers' compensation benefits.

Reimbursement for Medical Treatment

If the insurance company or the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents determines that you are eligible for workers' compensation, you will be reimbursed by the insurance company for any necessary medical treatment and care that you receive.

If you receive medical treatment for a work-related injury at a hospital, doctor's office, or health center, you should inform the provider of services that the injury is work related and request that all bills for services be sent to Human Resources.  Charges or bills for medical treatment or prescriptions resulting from a work-related injury should not be submitted to your medical insurance carrier.

Workers' Compensation Leave

Should a work-related injury prevent you from working, you may be eligible for leave based on your own serious medical condition under FMLA and MA PFML.  Any leave for a work-related injury will run concurrently with all other applicable leave, including FMLA and MA PFML.

Reimbursement for Lost Wages

Should your injury result in time off from work, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits to compensate you for lost wages. The payments from the insurance company are set by law at approximately 60% of your average weekly earnings (plus allowances for dependents) up to a maximum benefit which is subject to change. Weekly disability payments are nontaxable.  
The college will advance your regular salary for the first week of disability. Should you ultimately receive workers' compensation benefits for the first week from the carrier, you must repay to the college the amount advanced.

Supplemental payments

For regular full- and part-time administrative and administrative support staff, the college will, upon request, pay any differential required to continue regular salary up to 80% for the first three months of the disability from any accrued sick time.  Supplemental payments will be discontinued after three months; however, employees will continue to receive workers' compensation payments from the insurance company for the duration of any approved absence for a work-related injury, or as long as provided by law.

Eligibility for Paid Time Off and Benefits

During the period you receive workers' compensation benefits, you will continue to be eligible to accrue paid time off as follows:

  • you will accrue personal time;
  • you will accrue vacation and sick leave during the first 12 weeks;
  • you are not eligible for paid holidays, paid bereavement, or jury duty leave.
Health, Dental, Life, and LTD Insurance Plans

You continue to receive employee benefits for up to six months, subject to the terms of the benefit plan documents. During this time, the college will continue to pay its normal share of the premiums toward your coverage and you will be billed for your share. You must pay your share of the premiums within 30 days of the billing date to ensure continued coverage.  

If you are on workers' compensation for longer than six months, you are expected to apply for long-term disability (LTD) insurance; if your LTD application is approved, your benefits may continue under the terms of that plan.  

If you do not qualify for LTD leave after six months, you may elect to participate in the health and dental plans under COBRA, and you have the option to convert to nongroup life and LTD insurance policies.  

While receiving workers’ compensation benefits, your life and LTD insurance will continue at the salary level in effect at the time the workers' compensation leave began.

Please note that the benefit plan documents ultimately govern your eligibility for benefits.  If there is any discrepancy between the plan documents and the information provided here, the plan documents will govern.

Tuition Assistance Program

You continue to be eligible for tuition benefits for up to six months from the beginning of workers' compensation.

Retirement Plan

For eligible employees, the college will pay retirement contributions on any supplemental payments. Contributions are not made on workers' compensation income benefits.

Application Procedures

Employees should apply for worker’s compensation benefits through the Office of Human Resources, which is responsible for the filing and processing of workers’ compensation claims and for monitoring workers’ compensation leaves.

While you are out of work receiving worker’s compensation, you should contact your supervisor at least once a week to report on your estimated or actual return-to-work date, unless you and your supervisor agree to another reporting schedule.

Return to Work Certification

In order to return to work (full- or part-time), you will be required to submit the Physician's Approval to Return to Work formform, completed by your healthcare provider. You must provide the Office of Human Resources with this completed form prior to returning to work. To ensure your ability to resume the duties of your job, the college may require an examination by a college-designated physician before your return to work.