Georgia Lawyers Demand Full Salary Benefits Under Workers' Compensation Insurance

Law enforcement leaders in Georgia are calling on state lawmakers to give injured officers their full pay while they recover, a move that could significantly change the nature of workers' compensation insurance.

News outlets in the state reported that sheriffs and police chiefs held a news conference Monday calling for the passage of a law that would make paid time off uniform across the state. Some jurisdictions already allow full pay for at least a few days, while others do not, the Henry Herald news site reported.

Georgia state Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur, said he is drafting a bill that would require full pay while an injured officer receives workers' compensation.

The operation began after Henry County Officer Daniel Podsiadly was shot while pursuing a suspect, killing four people and injuring other officers. According to authorities, Podsiadly suffered financial setbacks while receiving workers' compensation insurance. According to news reports, injured workers are missing out on overtime and income from part-time jobs, the president of the state's Sheriff's Association said.

A better compensation approach would be similar to what the U.S. military is offering – full pay for members who are discharged for medical reasons, a sheriff said.

Georgia's workers' compensation system was established in 1920, around the same time most other states were establishing compensation systems. As in most states, injured workers receive two-thirds of their weekly wages while recovering. In Georgia, the maximum weekly temporary total disability benefit is $675, less than Florida, Alabama and South Carolina, and it ends at 400 weeks unless the injury is catastrophic, according to Workers' Compensation Research Institute reported.

The compensation system in most states maintains a cap of two-thirds of wage replacement benefits to discourage fraudsters from faking injuries.

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