Injured workers often use vacation, sick time, or other forms of paid time off for time they have to miss work or go to doctor appointments because of a work injury. However, Wisconsin workers compensation law prevents injured workers from being forced to do this.

A Doctor’s Note Helps Ensure Certain Workers Compensation Benefits

While you are healing from a work injury, you are entitled to temporary total disability benefits if you have work restrictions issued from a doctor that prevent you from working. If you are able to work, but are making less because of the injury, you are entitled to benefits to help make up this difference. Finally, you cannot be forced to use vacation, sick time, or paid time off for time you have missed for doctor’s appointment related to your work injury. To ensure you receive the benefit of this protection, make sure to get a note from your doctor excusing you from work for your doctor’s appointments and to give these notes to your employer. If your employer has wrongfully taken away vacation, sick time, or paid time off, you can make a complaint to the Wisconsin Labor Standards Bureau.

Pay Differences May Lead to Choosing to Use Paid Time Off

Because temporary total disability benefits are 2/3 of your average weekly wage, you may choose to use vacation, sick time, or paid time off to bring yourself up to your full pre-injury earnings. If you choose to do this, make sure to be clear that you are using the paid time off to get back to your usual weekly wage, and that you are not choosing to receive paid time off instead of workers compensation benefits.

Keep Records Even When Workers Comp Application is Denied

If your workers compensation claim has been denied, this means you will stop receiving temporary total disability benefits, and the protections outlined above will not necessarily apply. Many injured workers will then use vacation, sick time, or paid time off to keep their job and some money coming in. If you need to do this, keep track of the paid time off you are using up. If you win or settle your workers compensation claim, you can either be paid temporary disability benefits for this time, or have the vacation, sick time, or paid time off restored.

If you have questions about your workers compensation rights, or your workers compensation claim has been denied, please contact the experienced team of workers compensation attorneys here at Hawks Quindel.

Matthew Robles

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