556R - Injury Leave

  1. Overview 

    It is the intent of Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) to comply with the requirements of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act as amended. It is the policy of FCPS that every employee is entitled to work under safe conditions free from hazards that might cause injury, disability or even death. To this end, every reasonable effort will be made to promote accident prevention and safe working conditions to ensure protection from injury and preservation of health. 

    Should an employee incur a work-related injury or occupational disease, FCPS will ensure they receive prompt attention, which meets the highest standards of medical care, towards achieving a speedy recovery. All benefits to which an employee is entitled under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act shall be provided without delay, through coordination with our insurance carrier. 

    The FCPS Human Resources department will be responsible for the administration of benefits and required record keeping. All administrators/supervisors will be responsible for ensuring work-related injuries and illnesses are reported promptly, as well as ensuring that employees receive the appropriate level of medical care. Administrators and supervisors will also be responsible for the development of modified duty when feasible. Employees are responsible for immediately notifying their supervisor, upon the occurrence of an incident or first sign of an occupational disease. 

  2. Incident Reporting 

    When a work related injury/illness occurs, the employee must report the incident to their supervisor immediately, or within 24 hours of the injury/illness. Even if the employee does not seek medical attention the incident should be reported, in the event complications arise at a later date. In an effort to provide the best possible medical care, FCPS has established a panel of physicians to provide medical care to employees. If medical attention is required, employees must seek medical attention from this panel of physicians. A copy of the panel of physicians is attached to the accident report form, available at each location. If an employee sustains a serious or life threatening injury, he/she should seek medical attention at the closest and most appropriate facility. 

    With the exception of emergency care, if an employee elects to receive treatment from a non-panel physician, the employee will be responsible for paying the cost of that treatment. Emergency care is defined as a life threatening condition or a condition so severe that immediate medical attention is imperative or reasonably necessary to safeguard the injured employee’s well being. Emergency care is further defined as treatment rendered in a hospital Emergency Room on a one-time basis. The only covered treatment provided by a non-panel physician, will be that treatment which was referred by a panel physician. 

  3. Worker's Compensation Injury—Selection of Attending Physician by Employee 

    Injured employees must seek medical attention from the panel of physicians provided by the Frederick County Public schools (FCPS). 

    If an employee unknowingly visits a non-panel physician for initial care or is seen by a non- panel physician on an emergency basis, the employee will be required to transfer to and receive continuing care from a panel physician. Any change in treating physician must be approved in advance by the employer’s Worker’s Compensation administrator and the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Commission. Approval for a change in physician is coordinated through the human resources department. 

    The employee may have additional rights under the Virginia Worker's Compensation Law. 

  4. Compensation and Benefits 

    1. Employees not covered by Short-Term Disability Plan

      Employees who are absent beyond the day of injury/illness will be suspended from payroll and docked pay. If eligible, employees may elect to substitute accrued paid leave, such as sick, annual or personal leave, to cover the first seven calendar days of absence in lieu of being docked pay. Once the employee’s absences exceed 7 days, he/she will no longer be eligible to use paid leave as he/she is eligible to receive benefits under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. If an employee’s absence exceeds 21 days they will be compensated for the first seven days of absence and any sick leave charged to the injury will be restored. All absences must be medically necessary and certified by a panel physician.

      Injury leave will commence with the first day an employee is suspended from payroll. If the employee is eligible, per school board policy, FCPS will continue to provide the employer contribution for the health plan for a period not to exceed six months. The employee will continue to be responsible for her/his share of the premium cost. Family and Medical Leave (FML), if available, may be designated and run concurrent with the injury leave. No other benefits will continue or accrue during the employee’s absence. Health care, beyond the six month limit, and optional benefits from day one may be continued at the employee’s expense, as long as premiums or payments are paid when due. The employee will be advised of the premium due date and amount to continue various benefits.

    2. Employees covered by Short-Term Disability Plan

      Employees injured in the course of their employment will receive compensation and benefits coverage as provided under either the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act or the Short-term Disability Plan depending on the most advantageous provision. At no time will compensation under a work-related injury exceed the greater of the amount available through either the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act or the Short-term Disability Plan standing alone.

  5. Modified Work Arrangements 

    Administrators, supervisors and employees will work together with case managers, claims administrator, and attending physicians in an effort to identify and provide appropriate modified work, as available. Modified work will be provided when feasible but will not be guaranteed. 

  6. Returning to Work Following an Injury or Illness 

    If an employee is released to return to work without restrictions he/she will return to his/her original position. If the employee is unable to return to full duty a reasonable accommodation may be considered, if the employee is capable of performing the essential functions of the position. If a reasonable accommodation is provided, the necessity of the accommodation will be reviewed every 30 days. 

    If a reasonable accommodation is not possible, the employee, if eligible, will be provided the opportunity to apply for disability retirement or a leave of absence. If the employee is unable to return to work following the expiration of workers’ compensation benefits, a reasonable accommodation is not possible, and he/she are not eligible or approved for disability retirement or a leave of absence, he/she will be recommended for termination. 

  7. Frederick County Public Schools Occupational Safety and Health Policy Statement 

    “The Occupational Safety and Heath Act of 1970 requires employers to provide a safe place to work, a place free from hazards that might cause injury, disability, or even death. 

    It is the policy of Frederick County Public Schools that every employee be entitled to work under the safest conditions possible. To this end, every reasonable effort will be made to promote accident prevention for protection and health preservation. 

    It is our belief that accidents which injure people, damage equipment or property, or destroy materials cause needless personal suffering, inconvenience and expense. We believe that practically all accidents can be prevented by taking common sense precautions. 

    Frederick County Public Schools, through its appointed managers, will endeavor to maintain a safe and healthful work place. The school system will provide safe working equipment, necessary personal protection and, in the case of injury, the best first aid and medical services available. 

    Due to the large number of activities in progress at one time, the varied nature of the work and the widespread location of such activities, we must "formalize" our safety program, utilizing written reports and records, to achieve the maximum use and effectiveness of loss control information. 

    The human resources department will head the Frederick County Public Schools Occupational Safety and Health Program and will communicate pertinent information to all departments. It will undertake such duties as may be required in the day-to-day operation of the safety program. 

    We believe that accidents are avoidable and can be prevented. If we all do our part, including acting and talking safety at all times, healthy attitudes towards accident prevention, loss control and improved safety on the job can be achieved. 

    Safety and loss control is a tremendous responsibility and one that must be shared by all.” 

Adopted: October 31, 1989 
Amended: August 1, 1991 
Amended: August 9, 1995 
Amended: July 6, 1999 
Amended: June 22, 2007 
Amended: September 5, 2008 
Amended: September 1, 2015