Under California Labor Code Section 4800, certain frontline workers—including police officers, firefighters, and other public safety personnel—are entitled to additional legal protection in the event that they suffer a job-related injury. Referred both as “Labor Code Section 4850 benefits” and “Labor Code Section 4850 Time,” this special provision allows qualifying employees to receive their full salary for up to one year. In this article, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense attorneys highlight four key things to know about Labor Code Section 4850 Benefits in California.

Labor Code Section 4850 Provides Strong Protections to Frontline Public Safety Workers

As a starting point, it is important to emphasize how Labor Code Section 4850 works. Under the statute, frontline public safety workers who suffer an industrial injury on the job are entitled to full salary without the deduction of taxes for up to 52 weeks. In California, Labor Code Section 4850 time is provided as an alternative to temporary disability benefits.

Salary Continuation is Limited at 52 Weeks

As noted previously, Labor Code Section 4850 benefits are strictly limited at 52 weeks per qualifying industry. If an injured public safety worker remains disabled after benefits expire, then he or she can transition to temporary disability benefits, paid at the standard state rate of two-thirds the average weekly wage.

Calculating an Employee’s Salary is Not Always Straightforward

Labor Code Section 4850 is clear: A public safety employee injured in the line of duty is entitled to up to 52 weeks of salary continuation. That being said, determining an employee’s salary for the purposes of calculating Labor Code Section 4850 time is not always so straightforward. In some cases, there are questions as to what exactly should count towards this figure.

The case of County of Nevada v. Workers’ Comp Appeals Board (Lade) offers an illustrative example. In that case, a Nevada County law enforcement officer sought the inclusion of a five percent “salary differential” that he received for working nights instead of days prior to his injury. On appeal, his request was denied—the court found that the employer had the right to reassign him to the standard day-time shift and that it could exclude the salary differential from his Labor Code Section 4850 pay.

Retirement or Employee Termination Could End Labor Code Section 4850 Benefits

For a number of different reasons, an employer could move to end Labor Code Section 4850 early. At their core, these benefits are paid as a form of salary continuation. If a worker is no longer employed in a position, he or she may not be entitled to Labor Code Section 4850 salary continuation. Most often, this is an issue when an employee reaches their retirement or is terminated for misconduct by their employer.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation with a California Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

At Yrulegui & Roberts, our California workers’ compensation defense attorneys provide knowledgeable, solution-driven advocacy to our clients. If you have questions about Labor Code Section 4850 benefits, we are ready and willing to help. Contact our team right away to arrange a confidential, no obligation review of your legal case. We represent clients throughout Central California, including in Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton, Redding, Salinas, Santa Barbara, Tulare, Merced, San Jose and Van Nuys.