Infosheet No. 21
Injury on Duty and Workers’ Compensation
Article 16 of the Provincial Collective Agreement and Article 34 of the Labrador West Collective Agreement provide for special leave in the event that a member is injured in the performance of his/her duties. The parties to the Collective Agreements have agreed that the procedure for the processing of member claims for such Injury on Duty shall be in accordance with the legislative provisions outlined in the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act (the Act). This procedure has been accepted by the NLTA Provincial Executive. Members should ensure they are familiar with and follow this process in the event that they lose time for a work-related injury.
When is an Injury Work Related?
Members often ask when an injury is considered to be an “injury on duty” for the purpose of being covered by the Act. Section 61 of the Act states that: Where the injury arose out of the employment, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is shown, that it occurred in the course of the employment, and where the injury occurred in the course of the employment, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is shown, that it arose out of the employment.
Therefore, any job-related duty/responsibility that has been assigned to a member (mandatory) or that the member has agreed to assume (voluntary) would be considered by WorkplaceNL to be part of the member’s employment in the event that the member was injured in the course of carrying out said duty or responsibility. Members should be aware that they are considered to be acting in the course of employment whenever they are involved in school related activities, including extra-curricular activities which involve supervision of and travel with students outside of the regular school day or during weekends or school holiday periods. Any time an injury occurs during an activity involving a member and student(s) for which the member’s involvement, whether mandatory or voluntary, is linked to their roles and responsibilities as a member, said injury would be considered to be work related and, therefore, compensable by WorkplaceNL.
Injury on Duty
The Collective Agreements provide for Injury on Duty leave if a member loses time from work due to a work related injury. Effective January 1, 2002, the following process has been implemented for the reporting and assessment of Injury on Duty claims.
(i) Reporting Process:
a) Worker’s Report of Injury
Members should report work related injuries to their principal and/or school district officials as soon as possible. Members should then complete a Worker’s Report of Injury (WorkplaceNL Form 6) and forward the report to WorkplaceNL as soon as possible. A member who fails to submit this report to WorkplaceNL within three months from the date of the accident giving rise to the injuries may be denied benefits. A copy of Form 06 should also be provided to the school principal and/or school district Director.
b) Employer’s Report of Injury
The principal, upon being informed of the accident/injury, shall conduct an investigation immediately, prepare a written report, complete an Employer’s Report of Injury (Workplace NL Form 07) and forward all relevant documents to the school district Director. The Director and/or designate, shall notify the Commission of the accident, in writing, within three days. The Director shall:
- Review and assess the Employer’s Report of Injury (WorkplaceNL Form 07) and forward the report on to WorkplaceNL if the employee loses time from work beyond the date of the injury or requires medical attention;
- Complete salary details on the Employer’s Report of Injury Form and forward immediately (with any principal’s report) to WorkplaceNL;
- Place the injured member on Injury on Duty leave effective the date of the injury, as per the Collective Agreements;
- Notify Teacher Payroll immediately that the employee has been injured and the necessary documentation has been forwarded on to WorkplaceNL (optional);
- Advise the employee of the process and their responsibilities;
- Maintain contact with the employee and WorkplaceNL and seek updates on the status of the claim; and
- Ensure that employee cooperates with WorkplaceNL. Failure to do so may result in the employee being placed on alternate leave, in accordance with other provisions within the Collective Agreement.
c) Physician’s Report of Injury
If a member sustains a work-related injury which results in the need to visit a medical professional, the attending physician is required to submit a Physician’s Report (WorkplaceNL Form 8/10) detailing the condition of the member and the medical treatment prescribed (if necessary). There are additional forms for a physiotherapist (Form PR) or chiropractor’s report (Form 8/10c).
(ii) WorkplaceNL Adjudication
WorkplaceNL shall adjudicate all claims and shall notify both the member and the school district of its recommendation.
- Claims rejected – member placed on alternate leave in accordance with other provisions of the Collective Agreement.
- Claims approved – if the member is unable to report for work, then Injury on Duty leave will be granted in accordance with the provisions of Collective Agreements. Also, benefits payable to a member on Injury on Duty leave shall be in accordance with WorkplaceNL legislation.
(iii) Claim for Rehabilitation Services
WorkplaceNL shall review claims for rehabilitation services at the earliest opportunity and shall advise both the member and the school district Director, in writing, as soon as possible as to whether: a) the nature of the disability is such that the employee will eventually return to pre-accident employment; or b) the nature of the disability is such that the employee will be unable to return to pre-accident employment.
Early and Safe Return to Work (ESRTW)
The Act places certain obligations on both the employer and employees when considering the return of an injured worker to the workplace.
(i) Employer’s Obligations
In order to comply with the legislation, school districts must meet the minimum standard of cooperation as defined by Section 89(1) of the Act:
- Contact the injured worker as soon as possible after the injury occurs and maintain communication throughout the period of the worker’s recovery and impairment;
- Provide suitable employment that is available and consistent with the worker’s functional abilities and, when possible, restore the worker’s pre-injured earnings;
- Give WorkplaceNL such information as it may request concerning the worker’s return to work; and
- Do such other things as may be prescribed.
(ii) Workers’ Obligations
In order to cooperate with the facilitation of a return to work plan, workers must satisfy the following minimum requirements:
- Contact their employer as soon as possible after the injury occurs and maintain communication throughout the period of their recovery and impairment;
- Assist the employer, as may be requested or required, to identify suitable employment that is available and consistent with their functional abilities and that, when possible, restores their pre-injury earnings;
- Give WorkplaceNL such information as it may request concerning the return to work process; and
- Do such other things as may be prescribed.
Post-Injury Employee Options Consultation
If a member is deemed unable to return to pre-accident employment, the school district Director, in consultation with appropriate resource personnel, including the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association, the Human Resources Division, Department of Education, and, where applicable, WorkplaceNL, shall review appropriate options, taking into consideration the employee’s age, service, experience and training. Options include:
- alternate employment;
- retraining; and
- medical retirement.
Any of the options undertaken will be in keeping with the Collective Agreement, the Teachers’ Pensions Act, the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act and in consideration of any other medical benefits which may be available under the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association Group Insurance Plan.
WorkplaceNL Commission Benefits
(i) Wage Loss Benefits
The Act determines that the benefit level for all employees who are injured on duty will be 85 percent of net wages, with maximums established as indicated below. As well, the legislation states that employers, including school districts, may not pay an injured employee an amount in excess of that which the employee is entitled to under the Act.
The legislation defines “net” wages as gross wages minus EI, CPP and Income Tax deductions. Any other deductions from the employee’s regular pay (e.g. group insurance premiums, pension premiums) will continue to be deducted from the WorkplaceNL benefit levels. While the WorkplaceNL benefits are set at the above percentage levels, members should be aware that the maximum insurable gross pay effective January 1, 2023, used in the calculation of benefits is $72,870 per annum ($2,803 bi-weekly).
Thus, any teacher beyond Certificate V (Step 6), Certificate VI (Step 4) or at any step on Certificate VII of the provincial salary scale (as determined for the current Collective Agreements) will be negatively affected by the cap of $72,870 on maximum insurable gross pay. The 85 percent benefit will be calculated on the maximum insurable gross pay and not on the member’s actual gross pay, if the actual gross is greater than $72,870 annually ($2,803 bi-weekly).
Members receiving WorkplaceNL benefits for lost earnings will continue to receive pay cheques, with the deductions noted above, issued by the Teacher Payroll Division, not by WorkplaceNL. A member on Injury on Duty leave will be considered to be in receipt of full salary for the purpose of all benefits under the Collective Agreements. Any member who is in receipt of WorkplaceNL benefits at the end of a school year will have their regular bi-weekly salary reinstated for the period during which school is closed for summer vacation. If a member is required to continue on WorkplaceNL benefits at the beginning of the following school year, then the member’s income at that point in time will revert to the amount calculated at WorkplaceNL rates. Members are strongly advised to report all injuries immediately in order to avoid possible delays in receiving WorkplaceNL benefits or potential reductions in WorkplaceNL compensation benefit levels. A reduction in WorkplaceNL compensation benefits would occur when a member has not reported an injury immediately and eventually decides to do so. The WorkplaceNL benefit would then be reduced proportionately to provide for repayment of any paid sick leave already received.
(ii) Medical Aid
Whether or not an employee misses time from work due to a workplace injury, WorkplaceNL benefits for other expenses may be payable. For example, fees for medical reports, physiotherapy, chiropractic services, prescription medication, crutches and prostheses, and travel expenses for attending appointments are covered by WorkplaceNL. Therefore, even though the NLTA Group Insurance program may cover a portion of some of the above referenced costs, they should be charged to WorkplaceNL when incurred due to a workplace injury.
Long-Term Disability (LTD) Top Up Benefit
Any member who has Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance coverage through the NLTA Group Insurance program and has lost time at work due to a workplace injury, will be entitled to receive a “Top Up” Benefit through the LTD coverage once they are in receipt of WorkplaceNL benefits for lost earnings. The LTD Top Up Benefit is non-taxable and will pay members the difference between 85 percent of their regular net income and the WorkplaceNL benefit received. Under the LTD Top Up Benefit program, net income is defined as gross salary, less Income Tax, Employment Insurance premiums, and Canada Pension Plan contributions. In order to qualify for this benefit, the member must be a member of the LTD benefit plan under the NLTA Group Insurance program and must complete the applicable application. Applications are available from the NLTA office.
Any member who is in receipt of a lost-time accident benefit for more than two consecutive weeks will not have their regular NLTA fees (1.25% of salary) deducted as per normal. Instead, the member will have to pay only $2.00 per month for each month that they are in receipt of a lost-time accident benefit in order to maintain their membership in the Association.
The LTD Top Up Benefit and reduced NLTA fees are intended to help alleviate some of the financial stress experienced by members and their families due to lost-time accidents.
Experiencing an injury that requires an employee to miss work for any period of time is not what anyone hopes for, and the stress of this may be increased by having to comply with and face the financial realities of the WorkplaceNL claims process and compensation regime. NLTA Programs and Services staff are available to provide information and assistance in navigating the WorkplaceNL system to members who are injured on the job.
For inquiries to WorkplaceNL please call 709-778-1000 or 1-800-563-9000.
This Infosheet is one of a series which are updated periodically and which provide information of a general nature only. Documents such as Collective Agreements, legislation and policies referenced in Infosheets will govern the specific rights and benefits of members. For further information, please contact: Programs and Services, NLTA Office, 3 Kenmount Road, St. John’s, NL A1B 1W1. Telephone: 709-726-3223 or 1-800-563-3599 (toll free) • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.nlta.ca