County to operate like others in state |

County to operate like others in state

Workman's compensation policy change could save county thousands

Amy Hamilton

Moffat County commissioners agreed to change a worker’s compensation policy that could have saved the county almost $70,000 this year.

The board voted unanimously during Monday’s commission meeting to draft a letter to the Division of Workers’ Compensation that would free the county from paying funds that could be covered with compensation dollars.

“Being under this rule is costing the county thousands of dollars each year,” said Human Resource’s Lynette Running who proposed the change. “We are having to pay out more than we are reimbursed.”

Under its current policy, Moffat County pays its employees at 100 percent of wages for the first 90 days a worker is out due to an injury. Then the county is reimbursed about two-thirds of that cost from Pinnacol Assurance, the county’s worker compensation carrier. The county is only reimbursed if a worker is out more than three days.

But other companies in the state follow general worker’s compensation rules that aren’t as taxing to their own personnel budgets, Running said.

A policy change means:

— Employees would have to use their sick leave in order to be paid for the first three days out of work.

— If an employee is out more than two weeks, Workers’ Compensation will go back and pay the employee for the first three days off. Moffat County will credit back the three sick days to the employee.

— If an employee is out more than three days for follow up medical appointments their job is protected for up to 12 weeks. During this time Moffat County will continue employee benefits and employees would continue to pay their share of contributions.

The new policy will be effective Dec. 15. Any injuries before that date will be grandfathered in and the county will continue to pay the 90-day benefit.

It’s unclear how much money a new policy could save the county in future years, Running said, because injuries can’t be predicted.

To date the county has paid out $67,683 of Worker’s Compensation, which could have been covered by the county’s compensation carrier. Almost $60,000 of those costs were paid in employee wages and the remaining in taxes and retirement matches.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or

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