IEA Announces CPDM Scholarship
If you’re thinking of getting specialized in Disability Management but are concerned about financing your tuition,
consider applying for IEA’s Fall 2021 CPDM scholarship. IEA offers funding equal to tuition for one class ($599)
for eligible candidates.
What Does “Eligible Candidate” mean?
- Candidate is in, or interested in, getting into the field of Absence Management
- Candidate is not eligible for tuition reimbursement from an employer
- Candidate has not received this scholarship in the past
What Does The Scholarship Cover?
The CPDM Scholarship covers the cost of tuition for ONE CPDM course for a single semester.
The value of the scholarship is $599.
About the CPDM Designation
The CPDM designation is the nation’s foremost professional development program for disability management.
Written by expertsin Disability Management, Workers’ Compensation, Employment Law and Human Resources,
the curriculum is uniquely designed to provide the necessary knowledge and skills you need to manage the
day-to-day challenges of leave management. Armed with the best possible tools in the industry, you can
confidently and expertly implement an effective and cost efficient Integrated Absence & Disability Management (IDAM) program for your organization.
The designation is awarded upon successful completion of three (3) courses:
All three courses are offered by IEA on a trimester basis (Spring, Summer, Fall) making it possible for candidates to earn the
designation in just one year.
How to Apply for the Scholarship
To apply for consideration please complete the application form and submit to us by September 17th, 2021.
The successful candidate will be notified on September 20th, 2021.
Complete the application form here.
When Does the Fall Semester Begin
The Fall semester begins on September 23rd.The first course in the series runs on Thursdays for 11 consecutive weeks from 11:30am-12:30pm PDT.
The Insurance Education Association serves the community by creating and delivering professional development and continuing education in workers’ compensation, disability management and risk management.
Spot the Clues that Trigger Leave of Absence or Workplace Accommodation Process.
August 2021, by ShaunTeah L. Radcliffe, CPDM
If you are reading this blog, chances are you are familiar with Leave of Absence and Workplace Accommodations. However, you still have some questions, right?
As a People Leader, do you often ask yourself, “How can I understand when an employee needs a leave of absence or workplace accommodations?”
Are you familiar with the lyrics from the old song by the Stylistics, “Stop look and listen to your heart, hear what it’s saying…”? Ok, maybe not, maybe I’m dating myself, but I do love the old classics. Anywho, with just a tweak of the words, we can apply the same logic to help managers quickly identify leave of absence and workplace accommodation situations.
Stop, look, listen, and observe your employee; hear what they’re saying in both words and actions. Be aware of keywords, phrases, and actions that may indicate a need for a leave of absence or workplace accommodation. Your employee does not have to explicitly use the words “Leave of Absence” or “Workplace Accommodation” to initiate a legal obligation for the company to act. Below are examples of some phrases and actions that may trigger the leave of absence or workplace accommodation processes:
I’m having trouble with headaches when I’m around cleaning products.
I’m using PTO to have an outpatient procedure on my foot.
I’m tired and need a mental break.
My medication is not working as it should. It takes longer for me to get up in the morning and causes me to be late for work.
My shoulder has been really stiff lately and hurts after I move boxes on truck days.
Im having trouble seeing at night, and it makes driving difficult.
I was in the hospital on my day off, but I didn’t miss work.
My mom has been sick lately, and I need to take care of her.
So now that you’ve identified a potential leave of absence or workplace accommodation situation, what’s next? A best practice is to immediately engage your Leave and Disability Team (LDT) if your company has centralized processes. If your organization does not have centralized operations, engage your Human Resources Leader (HRL) for assistance.
Although you may be an experienced people leader, don’t try to navigate the request alone. There have been and continue to be many regulatory changes in this area. Therefore, it is better to engage your LDT/HRL for advice as soon as you become aware of the situation. The LDT/HRL can assess the situation and assist you in determining the best solution for your business and employee to avoid costly litigation.
ShaunTeah L. Radcliffe, CPDM is a subject matter expert in absence and disability management with more than 10 years of professional experience in managing and training professionals to ensure compliance and resolution of complex leave of absence and workplace accommodation requests. ShaunTeah is a contributor to the development of IEA’s newly revamped Certified Professional in Disability Management (CPDM) curriculum.
Supplemental Sick Leave and Temporary Disability Overlap
Can an Employer Take Credit?
On March 19, 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 95 into law requiring most California employers to provide up to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave. The law went into effect on March 29, 2021 but the requirement applied retroactively to January 1st, 2021. So, if an employee was eligible, an employer retroactively must pay the COVID-19 supplemental leave when the employee requests it, either orally or in writing.
The mandate is nothing new — last year, 40 hours of supplemental paid sick was required. But SB 95 came late, and, unlike last year, application is retroactive. If temporary disability already was paid, may the employer assert credit?
No Double Payment
It’s clear that the law did not intend to permit double payment. SB 95 provides that an employee subject to a quarantine receives the supplemental paid sick leave (80 hours) if one of various conditions applies. One, for example, is if the employee is told by a doctor or otherwise required by law to stay home because of COVID-19 concerns. Of course, temporary disability is owed in the event of a work-related injury resulting in the employee’s inability to work. Obviously, there’s overlap.
Senate Bill 1159 — the presumption bill of 2020 — states that “If an employee has paid sick leave benefits specifically available in response to COVID-19, those benefits shall be used and exhausted before any temporary disability benefits, benefits. So, if COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave is available for work-related COVID-19 claims, an employer must pay those benefits before temporary disability benefits are paid. If the paid leave is owed, temporary disability will not start until that ends.
The payment priority increases an employer’s exposure.
COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave is paid up to the employee’s regular rate of pay, but capped at $511 per day to an aggregate of $5,110. Temporary disability benefits, in contrast, are paid at two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly earnings up to a statutory weekly maximum of $1,356.31 for injuries on or after Jan. 1, 2021. The beneficiary of this scheme is carriers, who will be relieved of responsibility for payment of temporary disability during the 80-hour period.
An injured worker with COVID-19 who is on doctor’s orders to stay home gets the 80 hours on request. Note that SB 95 specifically requires that a request by the worker be made for this benefit. If there is no request, presumably, the benefit is not owed.
If temporary disability was paid previous to a request for the SB 95 benefit, it seems that the employer would be entitled to a credit for the amount. But the situation manifests differently with insured employers and self-insureds, and there are some complications.
The Insured Employer
When temporary disability has been paid by an insurer, the employer might want to take credit. Can it? There is no definitive guidance. The statute is clear that duplicate payments may not be made, but there are no specific allowances for credit in the language. The employer is obligated to pay the injured worker. Failing to do so may subject it to a Labor Commissioner’s Office complaint and hearing. The employer might protest that it was clearly entitled to reduce the pay, but the response might be that there was a remedy in workers’ compensation.
On seeing the 80 hours paid out, the insurance company would conclude that temporary disability (its responsibility and liability), is not owed during the period in question. It might well seek credit against future benefits. The Labor Commissioner’s Office might see the credit as an entitlement of the insurance carrier, not the employer. The difficulty, of course, is that most COVID-19 cases result in no need for permanent disability, and the appeals board is loath to impose credit obligations on temporary disability or medical benefits. So the applicant indeed might end up with a double recovery. But the employer might decide that it would have had its liability anyway, and does not want to risk the myriad consequences if pay is not made properly
The Self-Insured Employer
Labor Code 4909 allows for the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to consider application of credit when other payments are made in lieu of temporary disability: “[A]ny such payment, allowance, or benefit may be taken into account by the appeals board in fixing the amount of compensation to be paid.” (Per Labor Code 4650, temporary disability is not allowed when there is a salary continuation plan. Also, credit may be allowed when there is overlap with long- or short-term disability payments, retirement plans, an employer’s benefit plan, etc. The law does not favor the unjust enrichment of a double award, and granting credit for overpayment of temporary disability is routine.
So, may the claims adjuster simply subtract the temporary disability payments from the supplemental sick leave, and pay the remainder? One complication in this regard is that granting credit is at the discretion of the appeals board. The California Code of Regulations, Title 8, section 10555 states that, when a dispute arises as to a credit for any payments or overpayments of benefits pursuant to LC 4909, a petition for credit must be filed. This is a new regulation, and it’s untested — it became effective Jan. 1, 2020.
For adjusters, the requirement is a fly in the ointment. It’s simply not feasible to file a petition in small cases. The majority of applicants are in pro per. Filing a petition requires first filing an application, which is essentially the employer suing itself. The employer is subjected to the possibility of the applicant “lawyering up,” and the expense and inconvenience might render the petition being heard and granted a viable option.
The regulation demands a petition when a “dispute arises.” Perhaps that means any time that the employer wants to take a credit, as it is assumed the employee would disagree. Perhaps it means that if the employee is notified of the credit but does not respond, it is reasonable to assume there is no dispute (Qui silentio consentire — He who is silent gives consent). Or perhaps it means that the applicant has to agree explicitly to the credit, or it will be considered a dispute. There is no way to tell for sure, but at the end of the day, if a claim for credit is made without explicit agreement, a dispute might well be found to exist.
With that said, many claims administrators routinely apply credit for overpayment of temporary disability without resorting to a Petition. There are many levels of awareness about this regulation. Although it is a procedural requirement, there seems to be little substantive harm if it is avoided. Penalties under Labor Code section 5814 are not allowable where the employer has a genuine doubt as to liability. It may indeed be said that genuine doubt exists here.
The real problem is the Audit Unit, which as we know, routinely reviews the claims of all TPAs. Asking around the industry we have confirmed that the Audit Unit does indeed take issue where no Petition is filed before credit is applied. Accordingly, many claims outfits justifiably shy away from a deliberate and systemic application of credit without a Petition. It may well be that many claims organizations should look beyond the issue discussed here and consider this regulation in their general practice.
One solution is to simply ask the applicant to apply the credit. If the applicant agrees, credit may be applied. For the more daring, the applicant may be sent notice of intention to take the credit with a reasonable time to object. Since the supplemental pay is due upon request after March 29th in the next payroll, there may not be time for this. If the applicant does not agree, the only safe course is to file a Petition, where the amounts in question justify the cost and risk.
When retroactive payments are being made and overlapping temporary disability exists:
- Recognize that a request must be made before the supplemental sick leave is owed.
- If the employer is insured, it might defer claiming credit in favor of its carrier seeking it.
- If the employer is self-insured or otherwise fully liable, it’s best to seek the applicant’s agreement to the credit, in writing, before applying it. If the applicant refuses, claim credit and exercise judgment about filing a petition.
SB95 Signed By Governor Newsom
On March 19th, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB95 expanding the requirement for California employers to provide
80 hours supplemental sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19. The law took effect immediately but provides employers
with a 10 day window to start providing sick leave. All California employers with more than 25 employees will be affected and
the law applies retroactively to January 1st, 2021.
Following are some of the issues that employers must know about. You can find the full details of the bill here.
SB95 Supplements Existing Legislation
SB95 does not expand upon existing legislation, it creates a separate bank of leave so even if California employers paid
supplemental sick leave to employees in 2021, they must create new leave banks for eligible employees in 2021.
An employer may not require an employee to use other paid or unpaid time off before the employee uses SB 95 leave.
SB 95’s paid sick leave is in addition to any paid sick leave available pursuant to California’s sick leave law, known as
the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014,
Who is Eligible?
Employees who are not able to work or telework for any of the reasons detailed in the legislation qualify for the paid leave.
No length of service is required to be eligible for leave. Employees may request the leave orally or in writing. Full time
employees qualify for 80 hours of COIVD-19 supplemental paid sick leave. If an employee is not considered full time,
his or her schedule and length of employment will determine the amount of leave entitlement.
Qualifying for Leave
Qualifying reasons for SB95 are as follows:
- The employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or
guideline of the state Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), or a local health officer with jurisdiction over the workplace.
- The employee has been advised by a health-care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to
- The employee is attending an appointment to receive a vaccine for protection against COVID-19.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms related to a COVID-19 vaccine that prevents him or her from
being able to work or telework.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 and is seeking medical diagnosis.
- The employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a quarantine for isolation order or has
been advised to self-quarantine.
- The employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable for
reasons related to COVID-19.
Employers are encouraged to take these steps to ensure compliance with the new law:
- Educate and train human resources and payroll employees about the new supplemental paid sick leave
requirements. Employers might want to include in the training the new law’s impact on Cal/OSHA’s
emergency temporary standard (ETS) exclusion pay, as well as the requirement that the employer
replenish vacation, sick leave, and PTO banks for leave taken since Jan. 1, 2021 for a covered reason.
- Direct payroll employees to create or reinstate a separate COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave
designation on wage statements.
- Watch for and post and/or electronically distribute the COVID-19 supplemental sick leave model
notice the labor commissioner issues.
The Insurance Education (IEA) is the leading provider of professional development and training in
workers’ compensation, disability management and risk management. For full details on all of our
programs and services, visit our website.