Continuation of Pay (COP) is a special leave category which entitles employees to have their regular pay continued with no charge to their own leave for up to 45 calendar days (this includes weekends, holidays, and non workdays) of disability and/or medical treatment that follows an on the job injury.
NOTE: COP is not granted for an occupational illness
Counting the 45-day Period
Administrative Leave the 1st Day
Unless the injury occurs before or after the work day, time loss on the day of the injury should be charged to administrative leave. COP begins with the first absence from work following the date of injury due to disability or medical treatment, provided that the absence begins within 45 calendar days after the injury.
Calendar Days NOT Work Days
COP is counted and tracked in calendar days, not work days. Holidays, weekends, and days off, are all counted towards meeting the 45-day allotment if the medical evidence shows the employee was disabled on the days in question. For example, if the employee is approved to use COP on a Friday and is released by the physician to return to work on a Monday, then the weekend days prior to that Monday are counted as COP days. Also, when only a portion of a workday is used as COP, e.g., 3 hours to attend a medical appointment, it counts as a full day of COP used. COP is not counted or tracked by the hour.
45 Days: Successive or Intermittent
Once an employee has begun using COP, s/he is entitled to a maximum of 45 calendar days. These days need not be successive, but may be intermittent, depending on the situation. In many cases, an employee will return to work without using all 45 days of COP. Should the employee suffer a recurrence of disability related to the original injury, s/he may use any remaining COP balance if no more than 45 calendar days have elapsed since the date the employee first returned to work after the original injury. If 45 calendar days have elapsed, the employee has lost his/her entitlement to any remaining COP even, though a balance of COP may remain unused. Exception: However, if an employee suffers a recurrence and is being carried on COP when s/he reaches the 45 calendar day deadline, s/he can continue to be carried on COP as long as the period of absence is uninterrupted and there is a balance of COP remaining. In this case, once the employee uses the 45th day of COP, the employee's entitlement to COP is then exhausted.
COP Recorded on Timecards: What the Employee Actually Uses
When recording the COP time used on the employee's official timecard, the timekeeper must record the exact number of COP hours actually used. Therefore, COP would only be recorded in full days if the employee was totally disabled due to the work injury and did not report to work at all on a particular day(s).
If an employee is not totally disabled due to the work injury and is working a light duty schedule, e.g., a limited number of hours a day, the timecard should reflect the exact number of hours worked and those used as COP on each day.
Further, if an employee working a light duty schedule has a doctor's appointment related to the work injury, COP would be recorded on the timecard only for the period of time it would reasonably take to attend the appointment. (Department of Labor allows up to 4 hours for medical appointments relating to the injury.) If the employee obtained supervisory approval to be absent the entire day, the absence beyond that used to attend the appointment should be recorded as personal leave (annual or sick) or leave without pay if the employee does not have a personal leave balance.
In order to activate the COP option in ITAS, you must have Administrative Officer privileges. Please contact your servicing AO for assistance.