Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Mode of payroll payment should not affect the employer’s being reimbursed for the salary paid an educator while he or she was receiving workers’ compensation benefits


Mode of payroll payment should not affect the employer’s being reimbursed for the salary paid an educator while he or she was receiving workers’ compensation benefits
Pawlewski v Buffalo Bd. of Educ.,
53 AD3d 834

A teacher employed by the Buffalo Board of Education, was injured when she fell at work. She was still out of work at the time of the relevant workers' compensation hearings. The controlling provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between the Board and the educator’s union provide that the teacher was continue to receive her regular wages and benefits for up to two years and "the salary allowance paid [to her] under worker[s'] compensation [would] be assigned to the [employer]."

Buffalo paid the teacher her full salary during this period but when it sought reimbursement, the Workers' Compensation Board modified its hearing officer’s determination, finding that Buffalo was not entitled to reimbursement for payments it made to the teacher for the “summer recess” period during which she was “on disability leave.”

Buffalo and its workers' compensation carrier appealed.

The Appellate Division noted that Workers' Compensation Law §25 (4) (a) “provides, in pertinent part, that if an employer ‘has made payments to an employee in like manner as wages during any period of disability, [the employer] shall be entitled to be reimbursed out of an unpaid installment or installments of compensation due.’”

In this instance the teacher had received her full annual wages, which had been paid in the same manner as she had received them before her injury in accordance with the contractual terms providing that a teacher's total annual salary is paid over a period of 10 months. Under the circumstances, said the court, the Board erred in reversing that part of the ALJ’s determination that would have reimbursed Buffalo for the summer recess period.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

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Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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