workers' compensation claims in North Carolina are governed by the North Carolina Workers'
Compensation Act. However, when the plaintiff is a federal employee their
claims are governed by the Federal Employees' Compensation Act. The
Federal Act calls for the United States to compensate federal employees
for any injury sustained while in the performance of his or her job if
that injury resulted in a disability. Because the Federal Act diverges
from standard workers' compensation law, here, we have provided a
time line for your case and how you may be compensated under the Act as
a federal employee.
- A Time Line for a Federal Employee's Workers' Compensation Claim
First, after having sustained a work-related injury, the employee must
give written notice of injury to their immediate superior within 30 days.
This notice must include the injured employee's name and address,
the exact time and location where the injury occurred, and the cause and
nature of the injury.
Then, within three years after the date of the injury, a completed claim
form must be delivered to the Secretary of Labor's office. This form
must be accompanied by a certificate from the physician of the employee
stating the nature of the injury and any related disability.
Next, the injured employee must submit to a physical examination by a physician
designated or approved by the Secretary of Labor.
Finally, the Secretary of Labor will conduct a hearing in which he will
determine whether or not the claim is valid and whether or not compensation
will be paid to the injured employee. The Secretary will consider the
claim presented by the injured employee, the report of the employee's
immediate superior, and any independent investigation that the Secretary
- How Compensation is Calculated for Injured Federal Employees
If the disability is total, then the employee is eligible to receive two-thirds
of his monthly pay for each month in which he is disabled. If the disability
is partial, then the employee is eligible to receive two-thirds of the
difference between his monthly pay when healthy and his monthly wage-earning
capacity while partially disabled.
Usually, an employee's wage-earning capacity will be determined by
his actual earnings if those earning fairly represent his wage-earning
capacity. However, if the employee was not handicapped before the injury
and his wage-earning capacity probably would have increased if he had
not been injured then his probable wage-earning capacity will be the monthly
amount from which his disability compensation will be calculated (rather
than his actual earnings). Unfortunately, overtime and bonus pay are not
included in these calculations.
In addition to the formula set out above, if there is a permanent disability
involving disfigurement or the loss of use of a body part then the employee
is further entitled to basic compensation for the disability as set out
by the compensation schedule in the Federal Employees' Compensation Act.
Finally, if the injured employee has any dependents, he may be entitled
to an additional 8 1/3 percent of his monthly pay (if the disability is
total) or 8 1/3 percent of the difference between his monthly pay and
his monthly wage-earning capacity (if the disability is partial).
- What is Continuation of Pay?
Continuation of Pay ("COP") is a unique benefit provided to injured
federal employees. COP allows a federal employee to continue to be compensated
at the normal rate of his monthly pay during the first 45 days of the
injured employee's time off work. COP acts as a substitute for any
other compensation benefits during the period in which it runs.
In order to be eligible for COP, the injured employee must sustain a "Traumatic
Injury" and then report the injury to their employing agency within
30 days of the date of injury. Additional medical documentation of the
disability is often required as well. However, a United States Postal
Service employee is not entitled to either compensation or continuation
of pay for the first 3 days of any temporary disability. Instead, a Postal
Service employee may use annual leave, sick leave, or leave without pay
during that 3-day period.