by Kia Myers –
As a former police officer, I am quite familiar with this term. However, many people are not, due to the specific application to a limited number of individuals in the labor force as a whole. “4850 Time” refers to Labor Code § 4850, which provides up to one year of leave of absence at full pay, without tax deduction, for police officers, firefighters and “other” safety personnel when temporarily totally disabled due to an industrial injury. The benefit may start and stop several times and does not need to be continuous. It can be given up to five years from the date of injury so long as it starts again before the five year anniversary has passed.
This article will address some of the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “how” and “why” questions that are asked in an attempt to clarify this somewhat confusing section of the Labor Code.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
Aside from “named” professions, who encompasses “other” personnel? Labor Code § 4850 applies to:
- Police officers who work for city, county, towns, or districts, harbor or port police, and the Los Angeles Unified School district. Additionally, Bay Area Rapid Transit Police officers, transit police of any county, city, transit development board or district;
- Sheriff’s deputies;
- Detectives and Investigators, including District Attorney investigators;
- County probation officers and juvenile detention services;
- Airport law enforcement (under Penal Code § 830.33); and
- Railroad police officers
DOES LABOR CODE § 4850 APPLY TO ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL/EMPLOYEES?
No. Labor Code § 4850 does not apply to all law enforcement staff, otherwise known as non-sworn or civilian personnel, such as dispatchers, mechanics, records personnel, maintenance workers, communication officers, secretaries, administrative assistants, and evidence technicians.
HOW DOES LABOR CODE § 4850 IMPACT THE TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY 104 WEEK CAP?
There were no changes to LC § 4850 under SB899 or SB863. However, SB899 did change the length of time that temporary total disability will be paid. Prior to SB899 there were no limits to amount of time an injured worker could receive TTD benefits. The limit set forth in Labor Code § 4656 is now two years or 104 weeks of TTD benefits. Applying this time limit to Labor Code § 4850, the issue regarding whether these benefits are considered temporary total disability benefits at all and therefore subject to the two year limit continues to be litigated. In the case of Watson v. City of Oakland (2006), the WCAB found that Labor Code § 4850 benefits are not temporary disability within the meaning of Labor Code § 4656 and therefore not part of the two year limitation.
More recently, the First Appellate District ruled in County of Alameda v. W.C.A.B. (Knittel) that Labor Code § 4850 benefits are included in the two year cap for injuries occurring after 1/1/08, under Labor Code § 4656. At this juncture there has not been a California Supreme Court ruling to provide clarity on the issue. For now, benefits must be applied as indicated in Knittel.
Given the dramatic change in recent case law, we can be reasonably certain that the various public sector unions and other representatives of injured workers that qualify for Labor Code § 4850 benefits will strongly push for more favorable case law and/or legislative change. Until that time, claims professionals who handle these types of Workers’ Compensation cases should carefully review their files to ensure that benefits are being properly administered in line with established case law.
Viewing this website does not form an attorney/client relationship between you and Bradford & Barthel, LLP or any of its attorneys. This website is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. This document is not a substitute for legal advice and may not address every factual scenario. If you have a legal question, we encourage you to contact your favorite Bradford & Barthel, LLP attorney to discuss the legal issues applicable to your unique case. No website is entirely secure, so please be cautious with information provided through the contact form or email. Do not assume confidentiality exists in anything you send through this website or email, until an attorney/client relationship is formed.