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HR Policies

Policy # 96.0 Archived Version:
Workers' Compensation

Revision date of this archived policy:
March 1, 2012

Note: This is not a current version of the policy. View current version. »

Purpose

Any University employee who is injured or incurs an occupational disease or death, normally without regard to fault, as a result of University employment, is covered by the Kentucky Worker’s Compensation Act, the University's Workers' Compensation Program, and the University of Kentucky Worker’s Care Program Managed Care Organization.

Policy

1) The University, on a self-funded basis, funds this program which provides benefits to include payment of medical expenses, compensation, and death indemnities appropriate to the particular case.

  1. Under this program, the University may contract with a Third Party Administrator (TPA) or Managed Care Organization (MCO) to provide medical treatment, case management and other related services.
  2. An employee shall be seen by a medical provider designated by the MCO.
  3. Failure of an employee to see a designated medical provider shall result in denial of payment, unless the injury is life threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
  4. The name/location of an approved medical provider shall be furnished when an injury or occupational disease is reported.

2) Additional time off or pay is not authorized for holidays or special holidays which occur during a compensable workers' compensation absence.

3) This policy applies to all cooperative extension employees on federal appointment who were previously covered by the benefits of the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act.

4) In the event an on-the-job injury results in total disability and the employee is approved for benefits under the University’s long term disability plan, the employee shall receive the total amount of the greatest single benefit.

5) Injury as a result of horseplay while at work is not a work-related injury.

Post Accident Drug and Alcohol Screenings

1) The University of Kentucky is a drug-free workplace. Therefore, in addition to any testing that may be required pursuant to Human Resources Policy and Procedure(HRP&P) 21.0: Omnibus Transportation Act Employee Alcohol and Controlled Substance Testing and UK HealthCare Policy #A09-005: Fitness for Duty Evaluations, the University requires drug and alcohol screening for all accidents or injuries sustained under any of the following circumstances, except as otherwise specified in subsection 2, below:

  1. During the conduct of the employer's business, or
  2. During work hours, or
  3. While using employer supplied motor vehicles, or
  4. While using personal vehicles to conduct the employer's business, or
  5. During an employment-related accident where there is a fatality of anyone involved in the accident, or
  6. During an employment-related accident that causes bodily injury to the employee and/or another person that requires professional medical care, or
  7. During an accident that requires a drug and alcohol screening by Federal or State Law including, but not limited to, drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles and other employees subject to the testing requirements stated in HRP&P 21.0: Omnibus Transportation Act Employee Alcohol and Controlled Substance Testing.

2) Notwithstanding anything listed above in subsection 1 above, the following types of injuries do not require post-accident drug and alcohol screenings, unless otherwise required by law, but are subject to reporting; these are the only exceptions under this policy:

  1. Needlestick injuries (including vaccine reactions), or
  2. Exposure to an airborne infectious disease, such as tuberculosis and influenza, or
  3. Exposure to bodily fluids, such as blood, or
  4. Injuries for which the onset is cumulative or gradual, such as carpel tunnel syndrome, progressive hearing loss, mental disorders, dermatitis, respiratory diseases, skin disorders and the like; or
  5. A documented, physical assault on an employee by a patient or visitor. Documentation, at a minimum, shall include an Incident Report.

3) Post accident testing for employees subject to HRP&P 21.0: Omnibus Transportation Act Employee Alcohol and Controlled Substance Testing, shall be conducted as specified in that policy and subject to the terms, conditions, sanctions and precautionary measures stated in that policy.

4) For all other employees subject to post accident testing under this policy, post accident testing shall be conducted as follows:

  1. Post-accident drug and alcohol screening will be administered as soon as possible (within two hours, but not later than eight hours), after the injury or accident occurs and the claim is reported to UK Workers’ Care by calling 1-800-440-6285.  Unusual circumstances which may prevent an employee from taking a post-accident alcohol and drug screen within the timeframe specified must be promptly reported to UK Workers’ Care.
  2. In addition to alcohol testing, post accident drug testing shall test for the following substances:  marijuana, cocaine, PCP, amphetamines, opiate metabolites, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, propoxyphene, MDMA, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. 
  3. Preferred testing methodologies to be used include urine tests, and/or breath tests, but blood tests may be used as deemed necessary by the collection site. 
  4. A refusal to submit to post-accident drug or alcohol testing without valid cause as determined by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, or designee, shall subject the employee to corrective action up to and including termination of employment.  Failure to report to a screening facility after reporting a work-related injury, without valid cause (to be determined as stated in this paragraph), shall be considered a refusal to submit to post accident drug and/or alcohol testing.
  5. An employee with an injury that requires post accident testing under this policy will be directed to a collection site.  Testing shall be administered by a qualified laboratory and a Medical Review Officer (MRO) may be utilized in the testing process.  Failure to report a work-related injury, depending on the facts and circumstances, may be considered a refusal to submit to testing.
  6. After a positive initial urine, alcohol, or blood test for an illegal substance or inappropriate use of a controlled substance for which the employee has no valid prescription is reported by the MRO to the University, an employee shall be suspended without pay pending investigation and final confirmation.  If the initial test is confirmed negative, the department shall pay any unpaid wages to the employee for the duration of the investigation.
  7. If additional tests are needed to confirm a positive or negative drug or alcohol screen, the employee may be directed to submit additional samples.  Failure to submit requested, additional samples within 48 hours of notification without valid cause as determined by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, or designee, shall be considered a refusal to submit to testing.
  8. Additional drug and/or alcohol screenings may be required during medical treatment or examinations.
  9. A positive alcohol screen in violation of this policy is defined as greater than or equal to 0.04 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), 0.04 Breath Alcohol Test (BAT), or equivalent; however, an employee with lesser results may still be removed from duty as specified below.
  10. An employee with an alcohol screen with results greater than or equal to 0.04 BAC, 0.04 BAT, or equivalent, shall be removed from duty without pay and shall not return until the next duty period, or longer if circumstances warrant, but no less than 24 hours.  Additionally, the employee may be directly transported one way to their residence by taxi or similar service and this cost will be paid or reimbursed by the University.
  11. An employee with an alcohol screen with results greater than or equal to 0.02 BAC, 0.02 BAT, or equivalent, but less than 0.04 BAC, 0.04 BAT, or equivalent may be removed from duty and, if removed, may not return until the next duty period, or longer if circumstances warrant, but no less than 24 hours.  Employees may use Vacation Leave or Holiday Leave (including Bonus Days) for this absence.  If the employee has insufficient Vacation or Holiday Leave to cover these absences, the absence will be unpaid.  Additionally, the employee may be directly transported one way to their residence by taxi or similar service and this cost will be paid or reimbursed by the University.
  12. An employee with an alcohol screen with results of less than 0.02 BAC, 0.02 BAT, or equivalent, may be, but is not necessarily entitled to be, returned to work.
  13. Drug screening results deemed positive will be compliant with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) standards.
  14. A confirmed positive urine, alcohol, or blood test (or test deemed positive as a result of failure to provide sample for additional testing) shall be deemed a violation of Human Resources Policy and Procedure #13.0:  Drug Abuse or Human Resources Policy and/or Procedure #14:  Alcohol Abuse, as appropriate.
  15. Confirmed positive tests that do not result in termination will nonetheless require, upon return to work, that the employee undergo one calendar year of drug and alcohol testing.  The frequency of the follow-up testing shall consider any recommendations made from any substance abuse professional that may be involved with the employee’s situation but shall not in any event be conducted less than once per quarter (every three months) for one calendar year.  Within these parameters, follow-up testing shall be unannounced and may be requested any time.  Other terms and conditions for continuation of employment may be specified in a “last chance agreement” to be signed by the employee.
 
 

5) Regardless of whether the testing is conducted pursuant to this policy, Human Resources Policy and Procedure #21.0 or another policy, post accident testing results may be shared with the University's Workers' Compensation Third Party Administrator. 

6) Regardless of whether the testing is conducted pursuant to this policy or Human Resources Policy and Procedure #21.0, the University may deny a Workers' Compensation claim in the event a post-accident drug/alcohol screen is positive. 

7) Employee records regarding post-accident drug or alcohol testing are considered confidential and shall be kept under controlled access, separate and apart from the employee's personnel file. These testing records may not be released except (a) upon written request or release by the employee; (b) if the release is ordered by a court, government agency or tribunal of competent jurisdiction; (c) as needed to defend a claim brought against the University by the employee; (d) as needed to carry out discipline or address work-related safety risks resulting from a violation of this policy; or (e) is otherwise required or allowed by either this policy or applicable law.

Light Duty Work

1) Employees injured during the course and scope of employment may be offered light duty if an MCO medical provider assigns temporary physical restrictions.

2) If the employee's regular department can accommodate the temporary physical restrictions, the employee is required to perform light duty work to the best of his/her ability within the restrictions established by the MCO medical provider. Departments are under no obligation to provide work to any employee if the department has appropriately documented the failure by the employee to make a good faith effort to perform such work.

3) If the employee's regular department is unable to accommodate the temporary restrictions, the employee may be assigned to the Light Duty Program.

4) The Light Duty Coordinator is charged with oversight of the Light Duty Program.

5) The Light Duty Coordinator shall make a good faith effort to match the work type and work hours to the employee's normal job duties and schedule. If work type and/or work hour matches are unavailable, the Light Duty Coordinator may assign the best match possible taking into account the skills, abilities, and education of the employee.

6) UK HealthCare On-Call and Pool nurse employees in the Light Duty Program shall work a number of hours per week approximately equal to the average number of weekly hours worked in the twelve months prior to sustaining the work injury.

7) Employees normally working under a special program, such as, but not limited to, Weekend Premium Pay Plan nurses, shall be paid only for hours actually worked if the department is unable to accommodate the temporary restrictions and the employee is placed in the Light Duty Program.

8) Employees assigned Light Duty Work who normally receives shift premiums, shift differentials, or other special pay over a base rate shall continue to receive this type of premium pay if the light duty work performed would normally earn such pay.

9) Overtime assignments for an employee performing light duty work must be pre-approved by the Disability Benefits Manager as excessive activity may interfere with recovery.

10) Light duty work assignments shall not exceed 180 consecutive calendar days unless authorized by the Disability Benefits Manager.

11) An employee may refuse a light duty assignment. If an employee refuses a light duty assignment, accrued Vacation Leave may be used for this absence. Temporary Disability Leave shall not to be used for this type of absence.

12) If a light duty assignment is refused and the employee has insufficient Vacation Leave to cover these absences, the absence will be unpaid and may be considered unauthorized.

Employee’s Rights and Responsibilities

1) A worker’s compensation absence shall not be charged against the employee’s vacation or temporary disability leave (TDL) if a suitable work excuse is provided by a MCO physician.

2) If an employee is off work due to a work-related injury without a suitable off-work statement from an MCO physician or if the temporary restrictions secondary to a work-related injury can be accommodated and the employee elects to remain off work, the employee shall use Vacation Leave for this absence. If the employee is not eligible to use Vacation Leave, or has insufficient accrued Vacation Leave, the absence will be considered an unpaid and unauthorized absence and these absences may be subject to corrective action.

3) An employee may choose to utilize accrued vacation or temporary disability leave (TDL) when the worker’s compensation pay is less than the employee’s regular pay. This shall not exceed the regular compensation amount.

4) A period of absence under worker’s compensation does not constitute a break in service.

5) An employee receiving treatment/evaluation for a work-related injury is required to submit a copy of any return to work authorization to his/her immediate supervisor within two working days. This authorization shall list any work restrictions and be completed by the treating health care provider.

6) When an employee returns to work for 10 consecutive working days, they are entitled to full credit for vacation and TDL that accrued during the period of absence from the job. An employee may be required to change medical appointment times if the appointment time is within normal work hours and the employee's absence may cause an undue hardship on the department. Departments wishing to change appointment times should contact the Employee Disability Benefits Office for further instruction.

7) An employee returning to work from an accepted worker’s compensation claim shall be given time with pay for follow-up medical care relative to the work-related injury.

8) An employee who has a work-related injury or exposure shall refrain from any activity that may negatively impact recovery and/or delay a return to work.

9) During a worker’s compensation absence, the employee shall make arrangements with the Human Resources Office of Employee Disability Benefits (Employee Benefits) to pay for any employee paid portion of benefits (i.e., optional life insurance, health care coverage, etc.).

University Rights and Responsibilities

1) The University may investigate all accidents in which a worker’s compensation claim is filed.

2) The University may require an employee to submit to an independent medical evaluation (IME) and/or vocational assessment.

3) The University may take appropriate corrective action and/or deny benefits in cases where an employee

  1. Falsifies documents,
  2. Refuses to cooperate in claims processing, or
  3. Acts in a fraudulent manner.

4) The University shall continue to pay for an employee’s basic life insurance coverage and the health credit during a compensable worker’s compensation claim so long as they remain in an employed status eligible to receive these credits.

5) If an employee sustains a work-related injury and is unable to return to full duty within six months of the date of injury, the employee may be separated for health reasons.

6) Human Resources, with the approval of the Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, shall designate areas at highest risk of incurring a work-related injury based on historical trends, the type of work performed, or related factors. This designation for these unit areas shall occur prior to the beginning of the employee evaluation year (calendar year or fiscal year) These identified unit areas shall be required to allocate at least 10% of the Performance Evaluation score for each unit employee in the following calendar or fiscal year, as appropriate, solely to meet risk reduction goals. Once an area is identified, a comprehensive plan to reduce work-related injuries shall be developed by the area in conjunction with Environmental Health & Safety, and submitted by the appropriate areas to the Executive Vice President of Fiscal Affairs, or designee within 30 days.

Process

Administration of the University’s Worker’s Compensation Program is a function of Employee Benefits.

1) Any work-related injury or hazardous exposure shall be immediately reported to the supervisor.

2) All work-related injuries or exposures shall be immediately reported by calling the Worker’s Care Program at 1-800-440-6285.

  1. When an employee returns to work, the supervisor or employee shall immediately telephone or send written notice to Employee Benefits. The report should include exact date and time the employee returned to work.
  2. Failure to report a work-related injury or exposure within 3 days may result in denial of a claim and/or appropriate corrective action for the responsible employee and/or supervisor. For repetitive motion and similar injuries, the injury must be reported within 3 days of learning the injury is work-related.

3) Cost Distribution of Compensation Payments

  1. For regular employees, the first seven calendar days of any compensable work-related absence shall be paid by the employee’s department.
  2. The University shall bear the cost of initial drug and alcohol testing.
  3. After the first confirmed positive test, the cost of further testing shall be the responsibility of the employee.
  4. For temporary employees, the first seven calendar days are not compensable, unless the employee is absent for 14 or more days. In this case, the first seven days will be paid by the worker’s compensation program.
  5. Beginning on the eighth calendar day of a work-related injury or disease, statutory benefits, as provided by state law, shall be paid and charged to the University's miscellaneous fringe benefits accounts.
  6. Temporary disability and vacation leave, if utilized, shall be charged to the employee's department account.
  7. The payroll cost for an employee working in the light duty program (whether temporary accommodations are provided by the department or assigned by the Light Duty Coordinator) shall be the responsibility of the department for the first 90 calendar days. STEPS employees payroll costs shall be the responsibility of the department employing the individual at the time of injury. After 90 days, the wages for an employee working in the light duty program shall be paid by the Miscellaneous Fringe Benefits Pool.

4) An employee on federal appointment shall comply with the provisions of the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act.

5) Payments of statutory benefits to employees for work-related injuries and disease are excluded from taxation.

6) Family Medical Leave shall run concurrently with worker’s compensation absences as applicable.

Archived Versions of this Policy

Previous version: revised 10-01-2012
Previous version: revised 03-01-2012
Previous version: revised 07-01-2011
Previous version: revised 01-24-2008
Previous version: revised 04-01-2006
Previous version: revised 07-11-2002