How does a layoff affect seniority for someone receiving workers’ comp benefits?

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Q. We have an employee who had been performing light-duty work for more than six months. We laid him off based on his seniority. Now he is receiving workers’ compensation benefits again. Our collective-bargaining agreement provides that an employee will lose seniority after being laid off for a year. Does the fact that our employee is receiving workers’ comp benefits have any effect on his seniority rights?

A.
I would have to interpret your collective-bargaining agreement to give you a definitive answer. However, absent some special protection, an employee receiving workers’ compensation is not protected from being laid off or losing seniority.

The employee’s right to receive workers’ compensation benefits continues while on layoff. Indeed, it would continue even after being terminated. Some labor agreements offer special protection for employees who have been injured on the job, provided that they continue to accumulate seniority for a specified period of time or do not lose seniority as long as they remain on a workers’ compensation medical leave.

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