Can I Draw Sick Pay and WC at the Same Time?

 

Question:

Can a person draw both earned sick days and workman’s compensation at the same time?
I have 100 sick days on the books that I don’t want to lose, especially if I am deemed unfit to return to work. As far as I know, there is one clause that states that we can draw no more than 100% of our base pay. W/C pays 66.6% of my base pay.

–Donald, Kankakee, IL

Answer:

Attorney Marc A. Perper:
Section 8(j) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that if you receive sick pay (or any other employer-provided group non-occupational disability benefit) instead of temporary total disability (“TTD”) under the workers’ compensation laws, and if it is ultimately determined that you should have received TTD rather than sick pay, then your employer will be entitled to receive credit against its liability for TTD for the amount of sick pay you actually received.
However, that credit will be limited by the weekly compensation rate for TTD as calculated under the workers’ compensation laws. So, for example, if your weekly TTD rate should have been $600.00, but instead you received $900.00 per week in sick pay from your employer, and it is later determined that you should have properly received TTD rather than sick pay, then your employer would be entitled to credit for having paid $600.00 per week in TTD, rather than the full amount of sick pay that you actually received.
Generally speaking, you will not be permitted to receive both sick pay and TTD simultaneously. In cases where the employer voluntarily pays full salary instead of TTD during the period of lost time due to work injury, and the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier unwittingly pays TTD benefits in addition to the employer’s voluntary payment of sick pay, the injured worker is typically asked to endorse his TTD checks back to the employer so as to avoid reaping a windfall.
As to your accumulated sick time “on the books,” the question of whether you lose those sick days while losing time for a work injury is not expressly governed by the workers’ compensation laws. Rather, it is an issue to be determined between you and your employer.
In many cases, where sick time credits have been used during the period of lost time and it is then determined that TTD should have been paid rather than sick pay, the employer may voluntarily restore the sick time credits. However, the Illinois Industrial Commission – the court that hears workers’ compensation cases – has no jurisdiction over the issue of restoration of sick time credits. Generally speaking, the Commission’s only power is to award monetary compensation for work injuries, in the form of compensation for lost time, medical expenses, disability or death.
If you are a member of a union with a collective bargaining agreement, or if the terms of your employment are set forth in a written contract with your employer, reference to that written agreement may assist in answering whether your sick time credits can be restored if it develops that you should have received TTD rather than sick pay.
If you desire legal representation in a workers’ compensation case or other legal matter, or if you wish to discuss your case in greater detail, please feel free to contact us at 312-372-8822 or 815-723-8822 for an appointment to meet with one of our attorneys in Chicago, Joliet or Kankakee. There will be no charge for the initial consultation.