Editor’s note: There is no official guidance on calculating assault leave payments. In this article, the suggested method for determining weekly rate of pay is based on weekly earnings, not the regular salary payment an employee receives over 12 months. When this method is used, a 10-month employee would not be due assault leave payments during the summer months. If this occurs, the district should reconcile earnings and pay to ensure the employee is paid in full for all time worked. An employee who does not receive payment during the summer should be notified in advance of his or her obligation to pay for any employee benefits contribution. However, during the summer, the district is obligated to continue to pay the district contribution to health insurance premiums.
Q: How are assault leave payments calculated?
A: Districts are required to coordinate assault leave and workers’ compensation benefits to make sure the amount of compensation received by employees on assault leave will equal, but not exceed, 100 percent of their weekly rate of pay (TEC §22.003(b)).
This means workers’ compensation income benefits are the first source of paid benefits for the employee. The district must supplement the workers’ compensation benefits with pay so the combined total is equivalent to the employee’s pre-injury weekly wage.
To determine the amount of assault leave payment, the district must use two different weekly wages—the employee’s regular weekly wage and the average weekly wage used to determine temporary income benefits (TIBS).
- The regular weekly wage is based on the employee’s daily rate of pay (e.g., $100/day x 5 days = $500).
- The average weekly wage is based on earnings reported on the wage statement (DWC 3SD) to the carrier. Upon receipt of a wage statement the claims administrator will compute the average weekly wage and determine the TIBS rate.
The amount of assault leave to be paid is based on the difference between the regular weekly rate and TIBS paid. For example, if the TIBS payment is $371, the assault leave payment for one week would be $129 ($500 weekly wage - $371 TIBS).
Districts that fail to coordinate these benefits may provide injured employees with a disincentive to return to work. In some cases, failure to offset could result in the employee receiving 175 percent of his or her preinjury wage, since the workers’ compensation insurance carrier cannot withhold payment of income benefits (Texas Department of Insurance Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel Decision 06173-S).
Additional information on assault leave is available in the HR Library topic, State and Federal Leave.
April Mabry is an assistant director at TASB HR Services. Send April an email.