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Valuable Information to Help You Protect Your Ministry

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When it comes to insurance most people know the basics. I pay my premium and it’s legal to drive my car. My barn catches on fire I call the insurance company, after the fire department of course. What about workers compensation? Sometimes I wish it was a jeopardy category.  I’ll take work comp for $300 Alex.

Today I want to help remove the shroud of mystery surrounding workers compensation. 





Did you catch all that? The following shows both scenarios in a flow chart for you visual learners. The green scenario is a Med Pay only claim. That means that the injured work was written back to work on light duty by the doctor. There is no loss time and therefor no penalty. The blue scenario is a loss time claim. That means that the injured worker is written off work and stays home past the seven day mark. On day eight it becomes a loss time claim and and the penalties will occur. 


The key to avoiding loss time claims is getting a doctor to agree to write the patient back to work on light duty. In order for him to do so, you need to show that you have a Return to Work Program in place. So what is a return to work program? Great question! A return to work program is set up to accompany light duty work in the event of an injury. To start off you will need to make an injured workers packet that consists of three documents.  We are going to use a secretary and a janitor as examples. 


1. Job Analysis 
A job analysis form documents the physical requirements of your job. A secretary's JA may consist of walking, sitting, simple grasping, typing, operating office equipment, lifting under 25lbs, ability to write, etc. While a janitor's JA may consist of walking, bending, climbing, lifting over 25lbs, power grasping, operating machinery etc. This job analysis conveys to the doctor the physical requirements of your job and want tasks you can and cannot perform with your injury. 

2. Letter to Treating Doctor 
This letter explains to the doctor that you have a return to work program and are willing to comply with any light duty requirements he prescribes. It is easier to get a doctor to recommend light duty at the beginning than to get a doctor to change his mind after writing the injured work off. That is asking a doctor to admit he is wrong and good luck with that! 

3. Return to Work Status Form 
This form allows the doctor to prescribe light duty filling out the restrictions based on the job description. 

Now here is the easy part. Our risk management library is filled with pre-filled job analysis forms, letter to treating doctor and the return to work status form. All you have to do is download them! We recommend that you make these packets for each type of job and have them ready to go in case of an injury. You are far more likely to be successful at implementing a return to work program if these are accessible to grab n go. 

As always if you have an injury or aren't sure if something falls under the scope of work comp, please call us immediately! We want to help guide you from day one in order to prevent penalties. 

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Spring Cleaning. Two words I semi-dread every year. I like the process of organizing and purging clutter, but I’m not a fan of the actual cleaning portion. Most churches have a volunteer day where members come and deep clean the facility a couple times a year.

Ellen, a devout member for many years, participates in the volunteer cleaning day every spring.  They have people sign up, and provide a luncheon as a thank you. While cleaning out the kitchen cabinets, she happened to lose her balance on the step stool she was currently perched on and falls to the floor breaking her arm. Poor Ellen!

Now, it’s question time. Take the quiz below to determine if Ellen’s injury is covered under Med Pay or Workers Compensation coverage.

Now that we've determined what policy will cover Ellen's injuries I have another question for you. Is a Pastor required to be covered under a workers compensation policy if he has a 1099? 

Let's do our work comp formula. Did he do work? Was he compensated? If the answer is yes to both of those, he is required under state law to be covered under a work comp policy. Now, let's say he doesn't receive a salary. He's retired and instead of financial compensation the church lets him and his wife live in the parsonage. Is that considered compensation? Yes. In exchange for performing pastoral duties you received housing. That is compensation. The same is true for receiving a church vehicle to drive, or a housing allowance, or just giving a bonus at the end of the year. 

If you do not have a workers compensation policy and someone is injured on your premises while working, even if volunteering and they were compensated be it financially or other wise, you have a problem. Not only will your current insurance not cover the claim, but the state will be notified and you will be fined upwards of $7,000.  The average work comp policy premium with $100,000 or less of clerical payroll runs less than $700. As my Dad likes to say, you can't afford to save that much! 

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