The following is the understanding of Local 2554 based on the information that was discussed at the second meeting with Sector Management last Thursday, October 16, 2014.
Effective October 4, 2014, any agent that was/is placed on “Light” Duty status due to an injury that was suffered/occurred while in the “Performance of Duty” and resulted in the same agent having to file a/an (OWCP) Office of Workers Compensation Program Claim, (then that agent) is entitled to compensation for any loss of wages including “Lost Wages” that are a direct result of an assignment to “Current” Light Duties/AUO Non-Compensable Duties.
In this case, the discussion specifically referred to OWCP “Light Duty” agents that are assigned to duties classified as AUO Non-Compensable, and which subsequently restrict the agent from working any AUO.
The agency has not uniformly employed procedures by which “issues such as the ones currently affecting OWCP Light Duty personnel were addressed in order to make the agent whole” but will be assisting agents by providing personnel that is trained to assist the agents in filing the necessary paperwork/documentation needed to recover such wages if the agent is eligible.
The proper documentation in this case consists of a CA-7 (as we know of at this time) and are to be filed on a biweekly basis simultaneous to the filing of the agent’s Time and Attendance Sheet and the 1012. Although Sector Management made it clear that agents in this status would be assisted by agency personnel the logistics of this assistance (and for that matter the correct/designated forms) have not been completely worked out or identified by Sector Management. This fact could be the reason for the delay in an official announcement on the part of the Agency.
Bottom Line is:
Agents on “OWCP Light Duty” should know that he/she would be compensated for loss of wages at some point.
Agents on “OWCP Light Duty” should also know that he/she would be assisted in the preparation and the submittal of documentation in order to recuperate any lost wages as a result of being assigned to an AUO non-compensable assignment/duty.
The complete details of how the assistance will be made available were discussed but not resolved. Local 2554 expressed concern that the personnel assigned/employed by the Agency to perform this task understand and demonstrate sensitivity to the fact that this group of agents have suffered various types of injuries and are vulnerable or may be under a great deal of stress thus it is not necessary to burden the agent with any additional or unnecessary stress.
Any agents that are place on Light Duty Status should also know that when the agent is no longer in Light Duty Status (OWCP) and is released back to full duty; the agent should be placed back at the AUO rate he/she was at when the incident, injury/illness took place.
Please (agents) document this situation (keep records) in the event that future action is needed.
Unfortunately the issue involving agents in an “OWCP Light Duty” status was the only issue that Local 2554 and the Agency agreed upon. All other issues remain unresolved including issues that involve “Agents Injured While off Duty” and also “Pregnant Females” assigned to Non-Compensable Duties as a result of an illness/injury/pregnancy.
Because the issues that involve agents on “Light Duty Status” as a result of an illness/an off duty injury and/or pregnancy are very complex these issues must be analyzed on a case by case basis to determine whether a “disability” discrimination has occur and also because this group of agents will not be eligible to recovery of any loss in pay as a result of assignment to AUO Non-Compensable Duties, it is highly recommended that agent(s) who find themselves in this category seek or obtain additional guidance, representation and or even legal advice from an experienced source with these types of issues, regulations, codes and/or laws, as the case may be if the agent so desires.
If you have questions on about the above, please contact you union representative, VP Gurrola, or President Amaya