PA 15-128—sHB 6873

Labor and Public Employees Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING INJURED VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS AND SICK LEAVE BENEFITS

SUMMARY: This act generally allows state employees who are active volunteer firefighters to use their available paid sick time to supplement the workers' compensation benefits they receive for injuries suffered while performing volunteer firefighter duties on or after January 1, 2014.

By law, municipalities must provide workers' compensation coverage for their volunteer firefighters. Under this coverage, the wage replacement benefits for volunteer firefighters injured performing certain fire duties are based on the state's average production wage, and not the wages the injured firefighter receives through his or her regular employment. Thus, if these volunteers earn wages greater than the state's average production wage, their wage replacement benefits will be less than what they would otherwise be entitled to if they were injured in the course of their regular employment.

The act allows state employees under these circumstances to use their sick leave pay to make up the difference between the wage replacement benefits they are receiving and what they would have received if their benefits had been based on their wages as a state employee. The weekly sum of the sick time benefits and any workers' compensation wage replacement benefits the employee receives for the injury cannot exceed the weekly wage replacement benefits for which the employee would be eligible if the injury occurred in the course of his or her state employment.

The act requires such an employee, upon his or her appointing authority's (i. e. , agency head) request, to provide a written statement from the volunteer fire department's chief stating that the employee was injured during a fire call and specifying the date, time, and nature of the injury. It also specifies that the (1) employee's collection of sick time cannot affect his or her seniority or pension benefit accrual and (2) act does not preempt or override the terms of any collective bargaining agreement in effect before July 1, 2015.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

OLR Tracking: LRH: : mk: vr: cg