Workers' Compensation provides income and medical benefits to employees who sustain a work-related injury or illness when that employee is disabled from performing their job. The University's Workers' Compensation insurer is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Human Resources Division Workers' Compensation Unit (HRD/WC).
If emergency care is required in the case of injury or illness at work, call 911 for immediate treatment.
It is the University's intent to report each work-related illness or injury to HRD/WC within 48 hours of the incident. After an employee's immediate wellbeing is secured, employing departments and employees who have been affected by the incident must follow the "Reporting a Work-Related Illness or Injury" process below.
Reporting a Work-Related Illness or Injury
1. Notify Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)
If the injury is serious, contact EH&S as soon as the employee/student has sought medical attention. EH&S can be reached at 413-545-2682 . If there is no answer please leave a detailed message and someone will return your call. Examples of serious injuries include:
- Injuries involving hospital treatment, ambulance transport or time away from work
- Incidents where multiple employees are injured
- Biological exposures (needle sticks, exposure to blood or other bodily fluids, etc.)
- Chemical exposures/poisonings
- Work related illnesses
- Severe lacerations or punctures requiring stitches
- Broken bones
- Incidents resulting in a concussion or loss of consciousness
- Electric shock
- Fatality occurring at work (even if it appears to by by natural causes)
2. Notify Human Resources
Submit a completed Notice of Injury form to Human Resources within 48 hours of the injury/illness. Every injury or work-related illness must be reported, regardless of whether it might seem relatively minor or insignificant. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts's Division of Human Resources WC Unit reviews and makes determination on WC claims.
Authorizing the Release of Medical Records
As part of the Notice of Injury report an employee must sign an Authorization for Release of Medical Records form this form is included in the Notice of Injury. This form authorizes hospitals and medical providers to release any and all information relating to the employee's injury/illness to persons and/or institutions involved in the WC process. The Commonwealth's WC Unit will not pay medical bills related to the injury unless it has received this authorization form. If you are seriously injured and/or not immediately available to sign the form, your department will mail the Authorization to your home. Return the completed Authorization for Release of Medical Records form to Human Resources.
Absence from Work for Five (5) or More Calendar Days
If an employee will be absent from work for five (5) or more calendar days, the employee and his/her supervisor must follow the standard leave application process. In addition:
- The employing department must submit a completed First Notice of Injury (Form 101) to Human Resources. This form begins the formal request for income replacement while the employee is out due to a work-related illness or injury.
- The employee must complete and submit a Concurrent Earnings Report and Physician's Report [this is a Microsoft Word download] to Human Resources.
For Employees: Seeking Medical Treatment
If emergency care is required call 911 to secure immediate treatment.
If less urgent medical care is required, you may seek treatment from your own health care provider or receive initial treatment from the University Health Services (UHS). The University’s Workers Compensation (WC) insurance carrier will pay for any costs associated with your approved WC claim. You or your medical provider must call the state insurer’s Utilization Review Agent (tel 800-266-7991) for pre-approval of treatment or within 24 hours after seeking emergency treatment and for pre-approval of treatment thereafter.
In order to be covered by Workers' Compensation insurance, ongoing medical treatment of a work-related illness or injury must be pre-approved by Utilization Review (tel 800-266-7991) and must be conducted by a provider who accepts the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Workers' Compensation insurance. You are responsible for ensuring these conditions are met, please work closely with your health care provider toward this end.
The Injured Workers' Guide to Workers' Compensation provides additional important information for seeking care under Workers' Compensation insurance.
For Employees: Workers' Compensation Income
If you are unable to work, and while awaiting determination on a Workers’ Compensation (WC) claim, you may use your own accrued time (sick, vacation, personal, compensatory) to secure income if it is available. Alternatively you may request to be on an unpaid leave. If not using accrued time to secure income you will not receive income from the Commonwealth's WC insurer while awaiting determination on your WC claim.
If your WC claim is approved:
- The WC income begin retroactively effective to the 6th calendar day of absence and replace 60% of your average earnings over the 12 months preceding the illness/injury (within certain minimum and maximum benefits).
- If you are disabled for more than 21 calendar days, WC income becomes retroactive to the 1st day of absence.
- If you've used accrued time (sick, vacation, personal, etc.) for a period also retroactively paid under WC you may not retain both payments in full (which would total more than 100% of your regular income). In these circumstances Human Resources will work with you to restore the duplicate payment to the University, restoring corresponding accruals to you for future use.
For Employees: Impact of Workers' Compensation Leave on Benefits
The impact of an approved leave of absence for Workers' Compensation reasons on benefits differs based on whether you are receiving payments from UMass while on leave. This website provides an overview of the impact of leave on benefits if you are on an unpaid leave (not receiving income directly from UMass).