What your employee handbook should say about workers' compensation

Incorporating workers' compensation into your employee handbook shows your staff that you take work injuries seriously. It can also save you trouble with legal issues and employee relations down the line.

Consider including these points in your policy:

  • Employees must report work injuries right away. 
    Be sure supervisors know the importance of prompt reporting, and to pass along any reports of injury to your claims coordinator as soon as they hear about them.
  • Employees will be brought back to work as soon as they are medically able. 
    Even if an injured employee can't return to his or her regular job right away, providing transitional work as soon as possible reduces your claim costs and increases the likelihood that the employee will recover smoothly.
  • Fraud is not tolerated. 
    Workers' compensation fraud is punishable under state law. Let employees know that you and SFM have zero tolerance for fraud and actively pursue offenders.

For more details, see SFM's sample employee handbook policy .

Including these items in your employee handbook is a great start, but it's a good idea to communicate these same ideas in other ways, such as a training class or employee newsletter.

This is not intended to serve as legal advice for individual fact-specific legal cases or as a legal basis for your employment practices.


  • Can employers take your vacation time away when you injure yourself at work!

  • The answer to this question depends on your situation. If your question is whether vacation time can be used in lieu of workers’ compensation benefits, the short answer is no, it cannot for time beyond the waiting period. If you are losing time from work due to an accepted work injury, and your days away exceed the waiting period (which varies by state), then you should receive workers’ compensation benefits for the time beyond the waiting period. How the time loss during the waiting period is handled is between you and your employer.

    If your question is whether your employer can choose not to credit vacation time to you while you are out on workers’ compensation, this again is between you and your employer, and you would need to discuss with them.

    If you would like more details on your particular situation, we would recommend calling your claims representative.

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