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Workers’ compensation

New York Teacher

Workers’ compensation can provide valuable benefits to full- or part-time paraprofessionals, school nurses, occupational or physical therapists, administrative employees and substance abuse prevention/intervention specialists who have a work-related injury or occupational illness.

These members should file for workers’ compensation, a form of insurance paid for by the city Department of Education that will cover medical costs and a portion of any lost salary.

Report an injury promptly

The DOE requires employees to report accidents within 24 hours. Under the state workers’ comp law, employees should notify their employer of a work-related accident or injury as soon as possible, but within 30 days.

If the DOE or the school does not accept your report because it is past the initial 24 hours, call the UFT Workers’ Compensation Unit at 212-510-6460.

Employees should file a workers’ compensation claim with the appropriate board district office as soon as you realize the injury or illness is work-related. Legally, the claim must be filed within two years of the accident or within two years after the employee knew or should have known that the injury was work-related.

You can also file a workers’ comp claim for an occupational illness, which is a medical condition that develops over time, is caused by the nature of the work you perform and has been diagnosed as work-related.

You may be eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits due to on-the-job COVID-19 exposure if you work in a location where COVID is documented.

If you use the days in your Cumulative Absence Reserve, or sick bank, due to the injury, you are entitled to have them restored, but only if you filed for workers’ comp.

It doesn’t matter who is at fault for the injury/illness as long as you were on school property or were performing your assigned work duties. The only exceptions are when the injury is due solely to intoxication from alcohol or a controlled substance, or you willfully injure yourself or are hurt while trying to injure someone else.

Filing a claim

Immediately report the injury, accident or illness to your supervisor, fill out a DOE Comprehensive Accident/Injury Report and, in the case of an assault or other safety incident, fill out a DOE occurrence report through the Online Occurrence Reporting System and submit a UFT incident report.

Your employer is obligated to notify the state Workers’ Compensation Board within 10 days of the injury.

Even if you don’t lose any days of work, you should still report the incident, inform your chapter leader and contact the UFT Workers’ Compensation Unit.

To have an established workers’ comp claim, your school payroll secretary must submit an electronic C-2 form (Employer’s Report) via the payroll portal for you to be indexed with a carrier case number. This carrier case number will be needed for any hospital emergency room visit or outpatient care that will generate a medical bill or invoice. You should fill out and submit a C-3 (Employee’s Report) form to the state Workers’ Compensation Board as well.

The UFT works with a reputable workers’ comp legal firm whose lawyers can advise you and help you fill out the C-3 form. They get a fee out of your award if you win.

Save copies of any paperwork or receipts related to your case.

See a workers’ comp-authorized MD

You’re required to see a workers’ comp-authorized doctor as soon as possible or, in an emergency, to go to a hospital emergency room. Tell the doctor your injury is work-related. It’s important to see an authorized provider because the doctor can complete and submit the required Workers’ Comp C-4 form (Doctor’s Initial Report) and will testify on your behalf if necessary. Arrange to get a copy of the completed C-4 form.

Consult the UFT or your workers’ comp attorney before applying for other benefits, such as disability or unemployment insurance. Forms and more detailed information is available in the workers' comp section of the website, or you can call 212-510-6460.

Supervisors of school security are also covered by workers’ comp, but as NYPD employees, they have a different process.