Labor Code § 4850 provides that a public safety worker entitled to a one-year leave of absence and is entitled to full pay without loss of salary. 

Labor Code § 4850(a):

“Whenever any person listed in subdivision (b), who is employed on a regular, full-time basis, and is disabled, whether temporarily or permanently, by injury or illness arising out of and in the course of his or her duties, he or she shall become entitled, regardless of his or her period of service with the city, county, or district, to a leave of absence while so disabled without loss of salary in lieu of temporary disability payments or maintenance allowance payments, if any, that would be payable under this chapter, for the period of the disability, but not exceeding one year, or until that earlier date as he or she is retired on permanent disability pension, and is actually receiving disability pension payments, or advanced disability pension payments pursuant to Section 4850.3.”

Who is Eligible to Receive Benefits? 

Labor Code § 4850 benefits are limited to the following full-time public safety employees:

  • City police officers,
  • Police officers of the Los Angeles Unified School District,
  • Police officers, wardens, or special officers of a harbor or port district, or a city or county harbor department,
  • Sheriffs,
  • Any officers or employees who work in a sheriff’s office,
  • The following workers in district attorneys’ offices:
    • Inspectors,
    • Investigators,
    • Detectives, and
    • Any personnel with comparable titles.
  • County probation officers, group counselors, or juvenile services officers,
  • Any officers or employees in a probation office,
  • Regular, full-time peace officers under Section 830.31 of the California Penal Code,
  • Airport law enforcement officers,
  • City, county, or district firefighters, and
  • Full-time, year-round lifeguards employed by a first-class county in California, or by the City of San Diego. 

No Loss of Salary

Although LC § 4850 states that there shall be no loss of salary during the period of disability, the statute itself does not create the “salary” or any other benefit.  Therefore, it becomes necessary to look at how courts have interpreted and applied the statute. 

Application of Labor Code § 4850

The court in Mannetter v. County of Marin provided the following guidance on LC § 4850 benefits: “Although there is a strong public policy to indemnify fully an employee for loss resulting from an industrial injury, this policy does not include indemnification for benefits that an employee might have received as a condition of employment during the period of time he was on a leave of absence.” Mannetter v. County of Marin (1976) 41 CCC 1060, 1065.

Mayfield v. WCAB offers great understanding on the application of overtime benefits for purposes of “salary” under LC § 4850.  Here, the WCAB denied the applicant (a firefighter) writ of review when he lost no regular salary and was found to not be entitled to five hours of overtime he was unable to complete because of an injuryMayfield v. WCAB (1985) 50 CCC 666.

The Key Takeaway: 

To conclude, “salary” under LC § 4850 includes all of the compensation the employee is entitled to during the period of disability.  As shown by previous interpretation and application of the statute, this does not include benefits such as overtime or special pays that an employee only might have received during the period of disability.

Speak to a Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney in Fresno, California

At Yrulegui & Roberts, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense lawyers have the professional expertise that you can count on in even the most complex of cases.  Have specific legal questions about LC § 4850 benefits?  We are here as a professional resource. Contact us today to set up a fully confidential review and evaluation of your case.  We provide reliable, solutions-first workers’ compensation defense services in Fresno, Fresno County, and the wider San Joaquin Valley.