Georgia State Employees’ Workers’ Compensation Program and Return-To-Work Program

The Workers’ Compensation Program covers all full-time, part-time, salaried, and hourly State of Georgia employees who incur injuries, illnesses, or exposures to occupational disease during the scope of their employment with the State of Georgia. Employees are required to immediately report all work-related injuries, illnesses, or exposures to occupational disease to their supervisor. 

If an incident is not reported within thirty (30) calendar days, Workers’ Compensation coverage may be jeopardized. Employees who elect medical treatment for an injury, illness, or exposure to occupational disease which does not require emergency medical care must seek treatment from an authorized treating physician on the Panel of Physicians listed on the Workers’ Compensation OFFICIAL NOTICE. Employees who do not seek non-emergency treatment from a panel physician listed on the OFFICIAL NOTICE may jeopardize Workers’ Compensation benefits. Each work area has posted an OFFICIAL NOTICE (pink poster) which lists the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the panel physicians. Employees may seek emergency medical treatment from any medical facility/hospital when an injury, illness, or exposure to occupational disease requires emergency medical care. Follow-up treatment, however, must be provided by a panel physician. If a claim is approved by the Workers’ Compensation Program, medical expenses for the work-related injury, illness, or exposure to occupational disease are covered 100 percent. Medical expenses may include, but are not limited to, hospital bills, ambulance service, physicians’ expenses, prescription drugs, physical therapy, medical/vocational rehabilitation, and medical-related travel.

If a work-related injury, illness, or exposure to occupational disease causes lost work time, employees have the option of using accrued leave or receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits for the loss of wages. Employees who elect to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits are compensated at a rate of two-thirds (2/3) of their salary/wages, but presently not more than $375.00 a week. Workers’ Compensation wage loss benefits begin after seven (7) calendar days of disability. Employees cannot simultaneously receive Workers’ Compensation wage loss benefits and salary by using accrued leave.

Return-To-Work Program for work-related injuries, illnesses, and exposures to occupational disease

The Return-To-Work Program returns eligible injured employees who have been released to work with restrictions by their authorized treating physician to transitional employment, whenever feasible, as quickly and safely as possible. The Return-To-Work Program views all employees as valuable resources and recognizes that work activities are a form of therapy which assists employees to recover more quickly, as supported by medical research. The Return-To-Work Program uses a team approach (Transitional Employment Team) to design meaningful transitional duties that accommodate the injured employee’s work-related restrictions/reduced capabilities and serve as a bridge to his/her regular job duties. As an ad-hoc member of the Transitional Employment Team, the employee takes an active part in the decision-making process related to the design of transitional employment and the development of the Transitional Employment Plan. As the employee’s condition improves, the Team may meet periodically to

redesign the employee’s Plan to increase activities. This could help the employee gain strength and endurance before resuming the regular duties of his/her job. Employees may be provided transitional employment for a period of up to ninety (90) days.

The Return-To-Work program benefits both the injured employee and the facility. It makes it possible for the injured employee to remain at work during the recovery period and perform medically appropriate transitional employment assignments to facilitate a return to normal routine as soon as possible. While performing transitional employment duties, the employee will receive his/her regular pay and continue to accrue sick and annual leave time. This is particularly important when the employee does not have enough accrued leave to cover lost work time. In those situations, it also helps employees maintain health insurance and other benefits that may be jeopardized by an extended absence.

The major benefits of the Return-To-Work Program to the facility/work area are as follows: it helps retain experienced and knowledgeable staff, helps maintain high quality services to clients, patients, and other consumers/customers; saves the costs of hiring and training replacement staff, decreases overtime costs, helps save Workers’ Compensation, including Special Injury Leave, costs and other disability-related costs.

Return-To-Work Program for non-work related injuries and illnesses

The philosophy, procedures, and benefits of the Return-To-Work Program for employees who have suffered non-work related injuries or illnesses are the same as/similar to those of the Return-To-Work Program for employees who have sustained on-the-job injuries, illnesses, and exposures to occupational disease described above. Eligibility and criteria for modified duty differ somewhat from that of transitional employment. Eligible employees may be provided a modified duty assignment for a period of up to sixty (60) days.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please call the Workers’ Compensation & Return-To-Work section at extension 7184.

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Last modified: October 30, 2003