August 2015

Q&A: Understanding assault leave

Q: When should district employees be placed on assault leave?

A: All school district employees who are injured in a physical assault while performing their regular duties are entitled to paid assault leave for up to two years from the date of the assault to recover from their injuries. Assault leave can only be used for physical injuries, not psychological conditions. Because assault leave is a special type of work-related injury, payment of benefits must be coordinated with workers’ compensation.
 
When an employee requests assault leave, his or her request should be granted and an investigation should be conducted. If the incident is determined to be an assault, the employee remains on assault leave for the number of days necessary to recover from the injuries sustained in the assault.
 
If the investigation determines that the incident that caused the injury was not an assault, any missed time would be covered by the employee’s accumulated leave (if available) or by workers’ compensation benefits, if they apply.
 
To qualify for assault leave, the employee must have suffered some bodily injury and missed work. A bodily injury is defined as, “physical pain, illness, or impairment of physical condition.” [Texas Penal Code §1.07(a)(8)] Bodily injury can occur with even minor physical contact.
 
Unless a doctor indicates that returning to work would worsen the injury or that additional days would help the healing process, assault leave ends when the employee is able to perform his or her job while complying with the doctor’s restrictions. That means an employee can return to work even though continued therapy may be needed.
 
For more information about assault leave, see the Leaves section of the HR Library.