The personal leave used by a correctional officer to recover from a workplace injury did not constitute payment of workers' compensation benefits under Florida statutes, an appeals court held Wednesday.
In Medina v Miami Dade County Florida 1st District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee unanimously reversed a Florida Judge's Compensation Claim decision that denied the officer's claim for temporary disability benefits.
Miguel Medina worked as a detective for Miami Dade County. In 2017, he slipped down and fell on the steps of a prison bus and submitted an application for compensation for workers. The county, which is self-insured, accepted compensation for his injuries and knee surgeries. The county paid two payments of temporary benefits for temporary disability, but did not issue benefit checks during two other periods because he received full pay through the county's salary from his bank with personal leave days accumulated from 25 years of work for the county. [1
Florida statutes allow an employer to provide alternative benefits, but the benefits must be "paid or financed by the emp loyer and not the applicant," the court said.
The Court of Appeal also noted that the judge's subject area applies to personal leave issues only when disability benefits are granted, when benefits provided by the employer are provided in the same way as an invalidity benefit grant or when the employer benefits associated with compensation, reintroduction of personal leave did not exist within the jurisdiction of the judge.
Since the salary as Mr. Medina was funded by his personal leave, did not constitute payment of workers' benefits under the statutes, the court held, and revoked and detained the decision.