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NY Civil Service Law 71 Leave of Absence
I received a letter from my employer's self insurance department today that I have a right to a leave of absence under NY Civil Service Law 71. I was hurt on the job late December of 2010, and I just had a tennis elbow surgery at the end of April. I have an IME scheduled for the first week of June, and my doc has me out until late July at least. I have physical therapy which is going slow (just range of motion so far) plus I have been diagnosed with RSD in both my hand and arm where I was injured. I have been in and out of work on light duty since I was hurt (job is in law enforcement). I don't understand what this means really, does it mean they can fire me now and what is my recourse? My doctors say I am months away from any recovery, and the workers comp doc has even said before I was a candidate for disability retirement (which is in his report). I know my docs say that the last thing is a spinal cord stimulator for the pain and none have said I have reached MMI. The letter says that upon the medical examination I can either report back to work if the doc says I am fit for duty or face termination or if I cannot return to work that I can be separated from employment. Either way it sounds as though I will be out of a job possibly in the near future.
most public law enforcement personnel work under a negotiated contract or collective bargaining agreement.
rights to benefits like a leave of absence have usually been negotiated or legislated as part of the agreement.
your best resources for such specialized information would be your union or employee representative.
unless your contract requires that they continue to pay workers who can't do the job, it sounds like you will have to find a new career.
you should contact your employment representative to review your appeal rights.
I understand I might have a new career, but if the workers comp doc says I am permanently disabled, and my employer terminates me, what then? Where does that leave my workers comp case that I have now? I cannot live on unemployment and I am still looking at possible surgery down the line, not to mention many more months of physical therapy for this surgery.
while you are temporarily disabled and recovering from surgery you will receive TTD.
when your condition reaches maximum medical improvement you will be entitled to permanent partial disability based on the the extent of any wage loss.

more on basic workers comp benefits in New York here:

The union attorney is contesting the 71 Leave of Absence being that one it has not been two years (injury was the result of an assault), my employer wants to cut off my pay entirely and just basically toss me out the door with nothing, according to the union they don't want to pay me anything but are trying to terminate me. My employer which has never before contested the injury was the result of wrestling with an unruly inmate in front of witnesses is now saying that the initial injury was a result of that but that this latest surgery which they approved and paid for is the result of something else. The workers comp doc is even saying that the injury was as a result of wrestling with the inmate. So we are in for a fight if this goes to the 71 Hearing.
issues/disputes are poker chips in the litigation game.
they are trying to accumulate as many as they can before it gets to the settlement phase.
each one they can find/manufacture is worth something to knock down the final figure.
they don't have to be "real" issues just possible issues (no proof just conjecture).
the real ones are the ones you buy into or are afraid of..... that's where they get the most bang.....

you accumulate chips by also having issues/disputes especially those with higher costs associated.
e.g. discrimination/retaliation issues, high cost medical recommendations (again not real just "possible"), penalty situations, personnel oversights and pension errors, etc.

an experienced atty for public safety officers has played this before and know the ropes. their advice/strategy is usually pretty good.
judges are public employees and are well aware of what is going on.

it's not about what is true; it's about what the other side thinks is true or thinks they can prove.

that's why they say don't make it personal for you or you'll loose perspective when it's time to fold or call.
I received a call from my doctor's office today and they informed me that my "caseworker" for lack of a better term with the insurance company that my employer has (even though they are self insured they use a large insurance company) been trying to get my doctor to release me to go back to work. Three times this week they have contacted my doctor trying to get him to release me for work, three times the answer has been no. I see the worker's comp doc on Tuesday as an IME with the threat of a Section 71 hearing which my union attorney is fighting. My doc is sending me a copy of the letter from my caseworker, who has been anything but and I am going to send a copy of that letter to my union attorney as well as my workers comp lawyer. I'm not sure what the deal is trying to get my doc to force me back to work and not taking no for an answer but I intend to let the attorneys get to the bottom of it.
I had an IME today with the Worker's Comp doctor who told me we have run out of options for my injury and there is nothing left. At the same time I am waiting to see if my employer is going to terminate me or not, they want to try and my union is fighting them, it will all depend on what the IME's report says. My employer wants the Civil Service Section 71 hearing while the insurance company that is the underwriter for my employer (it is a municipality so they are self insured) wants my doctor to put me back to work, which my doctor refuses to do. So now it is a waiting game to see what the IME puts in print and where it goes from here.

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