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Labor Code 4850 (Definition, Who’s Eligible, and Statistics for 2024)

Labor Code 4850, often referred to as LC 4850, is a provision in California’s workers’ compensation law that provides certain public employees with benefits for temporary disability at their full salary. This benefit is specifically for police officers, firefighters, and other specified public safety officers who are injured on the job and are unable to work as a result.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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How Does Labor Code 4850 Work?

According to GekLaw, labor Code Section 4850 provides eligible law enforcement officers, firefighters, and probation officers with up to one year (52 weeks) of salary payment within statutory limits while they are temporarily totally disabled due to a work-related injury or illness [1].

However, the interpretation of "full salary" under this law can lead to disputes between injured workers and employers. For example, in a case involving Deputy Sheriff David Lade of California's Nevada County Sheriff's Department, who injured his shoulder at work, the issue was whether he should receive a five percent "shift differential" as part of his pre-injury assignment pay while working a modified/light-duty position during his recovery.

The Court of Appeal ruled that once an officer returns to work in a modified duty position, there is no provision in Labor Code 4850 for additional benefits beyond the full salary payment. This decision clarified the scope of benefits under LC 4850 for injured public safety officers in California.

Labor Code Section 4850 specifically states:

Whenever any person listed in subdivision (b), who is employed on a regular, full-time basis, and is disabled, whether temporarily or permanently, by injury or illness arising out of and in the course of his or her duties, he or she shall become entitled, regardless of his or her period of service with the city, county, or district, to a leave of absence while so disabled without loss of salary in lieu of temporary disability payments or maintenance allowance payments, if any, that would be payable under this chapter, for the period of the disability, but not exceeding one year, or until that earlier date as he or she is retired on permanent disability pension, and is actually receiving disability pension payments, or advanced disability pension payments pursuant to Section 4850.3.

Who's Eligible?

Labor Code 4850 provides benefits for first responders and public safety officers, including:

  • City police officers
  • Police officers employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Sheriffs
  • Employees in sheriff’s offices primarily perform active law enforcement duties
  • Certain workers in district attorneys’ offices, such as inspectors, investigators, detectives, or similar titles
  • County probation officers, group counselors, or juvenile services officers
  • Employees in probation offices primarily perform active law enforcement duties
  • Regular, full-time peace officers under Section 830.31 of the California Penal Code
  • Airport law enforcement officers
  • City, county, or district firefighters
  • Full-time, year-round lifeguards employed by a first-class county in California or by the City of San Diego

The statute explicitly excludes police officers or firefighters working for the City or County of San Francisco.

When Does Labor Code 4850 End?

According to DAM, labor Code Section 4850 benefits terminate after one year [2]. Other circumstances that may result in the cessation of benefits include the passage of five years from the date of injury, or if the administrator discontinues payment following termination of employment, resignation, or receipt of disability pension retirement benefits.

Keep in mind that after one year, individuals who suffer a disability will be able to receive benefits at the state rate. However, if five years has passed, the individual may no longer be able to receive any benefits. Marco from DAM stated.

Workplace Injury Statistics

According to Injury Facts research, In 2022, there was a 5% increase in the number of preventable work-related deaths, totaling 4,695. Additionally, 791 homicides and suicides occurred in the workplace during the same year, which are not included in the preventable injury estimates [3].

The rise in preventable work deaths in 2022 can be attributed in part to a 3.4% increase in hours worked, though other factors also played a role. The preventable injury death rate increased from 3.1 to 3.2 per 100,000 workers compared to 2021. In 2022, there were a total of 4.53 million work-related medically consulted injuries.

2022 Occupational Safety Highlights

  • Preventable injury-related deaths 4,695
  • Preventable injury-related deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers 3.2
  • Medically consulted injuries 4,530,000 Workers 159,379
  • Costs Not yet available

Source: Deaths reflect National Safety Council (NSC) analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI).

In 2022, the industry sector experiencing the largest number of preventable fatal injuries was construction, followed by transportation and warehousing. The industry sector experiencing the highest fatality rates per 100,000 workers was agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, followed by mining.

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