Many injured workers and union stewards ask us: Is An Injured Worker On Workers’ Compensation Entitled to Vacation Pay Without Reducing Temporary Total Disability Compensation Payments?
While most employers and insuance adjusters do NOT know the correct answer to this question, the question whether an injured worker on total disability compensation, under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, can receive vacation, sick or holiday pay without reducing their compensation benefits arises often, in part, because injured workers have been mislead or there is a misunderstanding of the law.
Many human resource managers or other representatives of the employer (including the adjusters for workers’ compensation insurance companies) incorrectly tell injured workers’ they can’t collect both or that one reduces or acts as a credit against the other. As long as the vacation, holiday or sick pay was earned before the injury, they are both payable in full and without credit or reduction.
An employer (and their workers’ compensation carrier) is not entitled to a credit for payments of sick leave or vacation pay earned before the injury and which would be available to the employee for a non-work-related disability or other reasons. If the entitlement to the sick or vacation pay is earned for work performed and not for being disabled, there simply is no credit against workers’ compensation.
The same goes for holiday pay or sabbatical leave pay when such pay constitutes compensation in return for services for the employer during some stated preceding period (an example would be laboring through the probationary period to be eligible for vacation or holiday pay). When there is a Union negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement, there will almost surely be an entitlement to vacation, sick, or holiday pay based upon past work performed.
Sick leave, like vacation pay, is an incident or benefit of past work and is an entitlement like wages. In contrast, workers’ compensation is entitled to a credit for sickness and accident benefits or pension benefits to the extent the employer funded those programs.
If you have any questions regarding workers’ compensation, feel free to call us at 1-877-291-9675 or 717-695-4722. We will be happy to answer you questions free of charge.