It's important to know that not all injuries and illnesses that happen at work are covered under workers' compensation. Each incident report is evaluated to determine whether workers' compensation can be provided or whether other forms of income replacement and/or health insurance are more appropriate. This evaluation is completed by a Claims Specialist within the Workers' Compensation Office who is available to answer your questions regarding an eligibility determination. The information below is applicable when the injury is one that is covered under workers' compensation.

The first seven calendar days are a "waiting period" and are not paid by workers' compensation. If you are out of work for more than seven calendar days due to your injury, the Workers' Compensation Office will provide a weekly payment directly to you. This weekly amount is equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wage up to the annual maximum weekly benefit applicable on the date of injury. No taxes or deductions are taken from this weekly benefit payment, so it is important that you continue to make any voluntary deductions (e.g., your usual health or dental plan premium) directly to Accounting Services so that your participation in these plans continues. Contact the HRIC at 684-5600 with any questions you have regarding your Duke benefit plans. If you are unable to work for more than 21 calendar days, the seven-day waiting period becomes compensable.

Workers' compensation wage replacement benefits are paid via direct deposit.

Please see the Benefits Checklist for information about how a Workers Compensation absence can affect your benefits.

The law requires that this payment be made weekly.

Payments are sent (or deposited if you have signed up for direct deposit of your regular paycheck) each Friday. After you have been out of work for the waiting period (i.e. seven calendar days), you should anticipate your first check being sent (or deposited) the following week. It is important that you let the Workers' Compensation Office know that you are out of work so that the wage replacement process can be initiated as quickly as possible.

Yes, you can use accrued vacation, sick, or PTO time during the first seven calendar days of missed work. If you are unable to work for more than 21 calendar days, the waiting period is waived and you are eligible for workers' compensation from the first day of work that was missed. At that time, you will be given the option to have the workers’ compensation benefit paid to you or have the hourly equivalent of the workers’ compensation benefit amount restored to your vacation, sick, or PTO bank.  The Workers' Compensation Office will contact you to confirm your selection and process the transaction.

Also, if you qualify for the maximum weekly workers' compensation rate ($1,254 per week in 2023), you may supplement your workers' compensation benefit using your accrued benefit time.  You may use enough benefit time to reach 2/3 of your pre-injury average weekly wage.  For example, if your gross weekly wage is $2,000, two-thirds of your wage would be $1,333.40, but you would only receive $1,254 in workers' compensation wage replacement.  You may draw up to $79.40 per week you're your accrued benefit time (the difference between $1,333.40 and $1,254) in addition to the workers' compensation benefit of $1,254 per week. Talk to your claims specialist and your manager about using supplemental benefit time.

Typically, the average weekly wage is calculated by dividing your gross wages over the past year by 52 weeks. There are several additional tests that apply, though, to make sure that this average amount is fair. For example, if you didn't receive pay for seven consecutive days during this time frame or haven't worked at Duke for at least 52 weeks, a different method is used to calculate your average weekly wage to take these factors into consideration. If you have more specific questions about how your wage was calculated, please contact your Claims Specialist who will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the specific calculation used.

Your treating physician in Employee Occupational Health and Wellness (EOHW) office is responsible for providing your medical treatment and keeping you informed about how soon he or she anticipates you will be medically able to return, and any job restrictions and the duration of any restrictions. EOHW will provide you with a Health Recommendation Form (HRF) after each visit to document their medical opinion. You are encouraged to regularly communicate with your supervisor about your medical progress so that you can both be planning for your return.

FMLA runs concurrent with the first missed day of work due to the on-the-job injury. If you meet the FMLA requirements, your job must be held for at least twelve weeks. For more information about FMLA, please see the Leave of Absences web site. There are times when the business operations of a unit require that a position be filled on a non-temporary basis. If this happens, you will have priority status when you are released to return back to Duke. (See the next section on "Returning to Work" for additional details.) Keeping an on-going line of communication directly with your supervisor is recommended so that you can both plan appropriately.

Please see the Benefits Checklist for information about how a workers' compensation absence can affect your benefits. Generally, employees are placed on leave and the majority of your employee benefits are preserved. Because there are no deductions taken from your workers' compensation check, you will need to establish a process to make sure your portion of any premiums or deductions continue. Contact Benefits at 684-5600 with any specific questions you may have about your benefits.