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Supervisors wrangle Workers Comp issue

By Staff | Aug 5, 2009

The Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday discussed how to handle lost employee work time not covered by Workers Compensation.

County attorney Doug Hansen said supplementing Workers Compensation with sick leave was part of the secondary roads contract. In addition, though, he asked what the board wanted to do about time lost on the day a worker is injured. Workers Compensation does not cover the first three days of lost time unless workers are gone over 14 days.

Hansen said if injured workers would sign over any Workers Compensation paid during the first three lost days – something that would happen if the employee were gone the entire 14 days – that would be the most equitable solution.

Supervisor Bev Juhl said that was the policy previously. She noted complications though since Workers Compensation was not taxed.

Supervisor Jim Jenson said there would be fewer Workers Comp claims if people were reimbursed only with Workers Compensation.

“Let them have that Work Comp check,” Jenson said. “My idea is that we follow the guidelines that we have to follow.”

Hansen said any Workers Comp policy should be countywide.

Juhl said by allowing secondary roads employees to use sick leave to supplement lost days that the county was already going above and beyond what was required. She agreed with Jenson, saying the board could tell employees they would just receive Workers Comp.

Hansen said he would draft a policy that people could use sick leave “to make whole” on lost time, using vacation days after sick leave ran out.

The board also discussed the issue of time lost the day of injury.

“I say pay them,” said Randy Beaver, board chair.

“We’re countermanding what Worker Comp is set up to do,” Jenson said. “We need input from someone other than government as to what they do.”

Hansen said he would contact GKN and Art’s-Way to determine their policies on the issue while auditor Mikki Erickson will contact Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative about its policy.