Time Loss vs. Kept on Salary (KOS)
If you are injured on the job and are unable to work at all as a result, you may be eligible for time loss. Time loss as a covered benefit is governed by RCW 51.32.090(1) which provides that “when the total disability is only temporary…[time loss is owed] so long as the total disability continues.”
Your employer, however, may elect to keep you “on salary” in which case time loss is not paid. “Kept on salary” (KOS) is outlined in RCW 51.32.090(8) which requires an employer to pay the worker “the wages which he or she was earning” at the time of the industrial injury.
Department Policy 5.12 takes the analysis one step further. Under this policy drafted by LNI, the worker must receive 100% of the wages he or she was receiving from all employment as of the date of injury. This means that if you were working more than one job as of the day you were injured, if the employer elects to keep you “on salary” your second job wages would also need to be taken into account for calculations.
Ultimately, if your employer does chose to pay you KOS wages as opposed to time loss under your workers’ compensation claim, know that it is their responsibility to make sure your KOS payments are exactly what they were paying you before the injury. This can be tricky if, for example, you were paid hourly and your hours fluctuate, or if your rate of pay fluctuates. However, know that it is your employer’s responsibility to make sure the KOS payments are correct, not yours.
If your employer is making KOS payments that you believe are less than your pre-injury wages, you may be entitled to a higher KOS rate or time loss. Consult an experienced attorney specializing in Washington workers’ compensation law to discuss your options.