Dissecting Labor Code 4850 Benefits: What is Included, What is Not?

Is a deputy sheriff who has been industrially injured entitled to keep the extra pay he received for working a night shift as part of his Labor Code Section 4850 benefits? That is the question the 3rd District Court of Appeal will soon be reviewing.

The case involves Deputy Sherriff  David Lade of California's Nevada County Sheriff's Department , who did not injure his right shoulder at work, and received a five percent "shift differential" while on modified/light duty.

Labor Code 4850 enables certain law enforcement officers and firefighters to receive full payment of their salary, not to exceed one year within a five year period from the date of injury, if temporarily totally disabled due to an injury or illness arising out of and in the course of his or her duties.

According to Workers' Compensation Administrative Law Judge Ellen Farmer, the five percent shift differential benefits Lade received were part of his regular salary because 4850 benefits are "intended to provide the injured worker with replacement of his regular salary."  A Workers' Compensation Appeals Board panel agreed with Farmer, but Nevada County petitioned for a judicial review, which was granted.

"Only time will tell how this all plays out," says Adam Dombchik, a Workers' Compensation attorney with Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP (GEK). "There are many factors involved, but shift differential vis-á-vis 4850 (salary replacement) benefits is at the core of the disagreement. This decision will likely have an impact on other 'ancillary' payments that law enforcement officers receive and whether they can be included in the calculation of Labor Code Section 4850 time."

GEK takes great pride in representing peace and safety officers.  We will keep you apprised of the outcome of this case, and any other cases that have an impact on rights and benefits of peace and safety officers.


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