Pedagogues — teachers, guidance counselors, school secretaries, psychologists, social workers and lab specialists — injured or made sick on the job are covered by the Injury-in-the-Line-of-Duty provision of the UFT-Department of Education contracts.
Under this provision, injured or sick pedagogues may apply for important benefits including paid time off from work to recover and reimbursement of medical expenses.
Medical: If you are injured in the line of duty, your health plan covers your medical care. In addition, the UFT won the right for members to have the DOE waive its normal $750 limit on unreimbursed medical expenses on a case-by-case basis for those who are assaulted while on duty in an unprovoked attack by a student, parent or stranger.
The form used to request reimbursement as a result of an assault is an OP 505 form and is available — as are all the other forms mentioned in this column — on the Injury in the Line of Duty page.
Financial: Until the DOE grants line-of-duty status, days absent come out of your sick bank (CAR). These days will be restored once you are granted line-of-duty status, and you will receive your usual pay for those days. If you have to miss work to appear in court, the days will not come out of your sick bank — as long as you file the appropriate paperwork.
Victims of assault or similar incidents should contact the Victim Support Program at 1-212-598-6853 for other support services, including practical advice, counseling and assistance from the police, the judicial system and the DOE’s medical division.
How to access benefits
In order to access your rights and benefits under the Injury-in-the-Line-of-Duty provision of the UFT-DOE contracts, you must follow these procedures:
- Unless your injury or illness prevents you, immediately notify your chapter leader and your principal of any accident or other incident. All accidents should be reported — even if the injury is not obvious or is seemingly inconsequential.
- Complete the DOE’s Comprehensive Injury Report (your school secretary will have it) and return it to your principal within 24 hours.
- See a doctor as soon as possible. Get a note from your doctor describing the extent of your injury and the anticipated time you will need to recover.
- Leaves for line-of-duty injuries must now be requested via the Department of Education’s Self-Service Online Leave of Absence System (SOLAS). SOLAS replaces the old forms, OP 198 and OP 407. See more information about using SOLAS. You should request line-of-duty-injury status (LODI) from the day of your first absence to the date that your doctor says you can return to work.
- Complete an OP 200 Execution of Assignment form and file it with your payroll secretary as soon as possible. The OP 200 form must be notarized.
- If you have been the victim of an assault, you should file a police report at the nearest precinct as soon as possible and seek medical attention if you are injured.
- Complete a UFT Incident Report online. Fill out the form as soon as possible and inform your chapter leader. You may call the UFT Safety and Health Department directly at 1-212-598-6853 to check on the status of your case.
- If you will be absent for more than 10 days, you will need to request a Medical Bureau exam as soon as possible by submitting the documents requested by the Medical Bureau. You can call the Medical Bureau Scheduling Office at 1-718-935-2731 and request a copy of the Employee Call-In Request for Line-of-Duty Examination.
- You may be legally entitled to compensation beyond LODI. Your UFT borough office can refer you to an attorney for a free consultation. Keep in mind that in order to file a lawsuit against the DOE a Notice of Claim (sometimes called an Intent-to-Sue) must be filed within 90 calendar days of the date of your accident or illness.
- In some cases, the superintendent or the DOE’s Medical Bureau will refuse to grant line-of-duty status and it may be necessary to file a grievance or file for medical arbitration, respectively. Please contact your UFT district representative or UFT borough office in either case.
For your convenience, the necessary forms, as well as a checklist of forms to be filled out, are posted on the UFT website.
If you need assistance, call your UFT borough office, at the numbers below.
- Bronx: 1-718-379-6200
- Brooklyn: 1-718-852-4900
- Manhattan: 1-212-598-6800
- Queens: 1-718-275-4400
- Staten Island: 1-718-605-1400
If you need additional assistance, contact Thomas Bennett, a UFT special representative and liaison to the DOE Medical Division, at 1-212-598-7711, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.