First, you must submit a Strategic Tracking Employee Pay System (STEPS) Form (also known as a work status report) to the Office of Risk Management as verification that your treating physician has taken you off work due to your work related injury. The first seven calendar days are a "waiting period" and are not paid by workers' compensation; however, Southern Methodist University does not want to see an employee do without wages so you are paid under a "WC1" code which logs normal hours/pay. After you are out of work for seven calendar days due to the injury, the Workers' Compensation Carrier will provide a weekly payment directly to you. This weekly amount is generally 70% of your average weekly wage up to the 2012 (10/1/11 thru 9/30/12) maximum of $787 per week.
If you make less than $8.50/hr then you are paid at 75% of your average weekly wages with the same maximum amount per week. No taxes or deductions are taken from this weekly check, so it is important that you continue to make any voluntary deductions (e.g. your usual health, retirement or dental plan premium) directly to the SMU Department of Human Resources so that your participation in these plans continues. Contact the SMU Department of Human Resources at 214-768-3311 with any questions you have regarding your SMU benefit plans.
Please see a Benefits Specialist in the SMU Department of Human Resources for information about how a Workers' Compensation absence can affect your benefits.
The workers' compensation law requires that this payment be made weekly.
Payments are generally mailed or sent each Friday. After you have been out of work for the waiting period (i.e. seven calendar days), you should anticipate your first check being mailed the following week. You must notify the Office of Risk Management with a work status report that you are out of work so that the wage replacement process can be initiated as quickly as possible. Failure to comply with this procedure could result in your sick/vacation time being impacted.
Yes, you can use accrued vacation or sick time while you are out on a work related injury to make up the difference of your pay during any missed time. You may not use a full day of sick/vacation pay each day you are out as this will result in payments of more than what you would have made if you were able to work and may result in you owing the University money. You would need to speak with your supervisor about coding this time on your timecard; the Office of Risk Management is available to help you with this process as needed.
Typically, the average weekly wage is calculated by dividing your gross wages over the past 13 weeks. Before your injury, for example:
13 weeks pay (prior to injury) $10,729.29/13 weeks equates to: $825.33 AWW
Your treating physician is responsible for providing your medical treatment and keeping you informed about how soon he/she anticipates you will be medically able to return to work, any job restrictions or the duration of any restrictions. You are encouraged to regularly communicate with your supervisor about your medical progress so that you can both be planning for your return. Southern Methodist University recommends "modified work" for those whose treating physician deem them able to work but with limited duties. The Office of Risk Management partners with each department to seek job tasks that can be performed by employees while remaining within the restrictions provided by their doctor. Statistics have proven that an employee heals quicker when allowed to be a productive member of the work force.
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) runs concurrent with the first missed day of work due to the on-the-job injury. If you meet the FMLA requirements, your job must be held for at least twelve weeks. For more information about FMLA, please see the Benefits Specialist in the SMU Department of Human Resources. There are times when the business operations of a unit require that a position be filled on a temporary basis. If this happens, you will have priority status when you are released to return back to work. Keeping an on-going line of communication directly with your supervisor is recommended so that you can both plan appropriately.
Please see the Benefits Specialist in the SMU Department of Human Resources for information about how a workers' compensation absence can affect your benefits. Generally, employees are placed on leave and the majority of your employee benefits are preserved. Because there are no deductions taken from your workers' compensation check, you will need to establish a process to make sure your portion of any premiums or deductions continue. Contact the SMU Department of Human Resources at 214-768-3311 with any specific questions you may have about your benefits.