Massachusetts Correctional OfficersOverseeing individuals in jails, prisons, and other correctional facilities is a hazardous occupation. It is no wonder that Massachusetts correctional officers suffer some of the highest rates of job-related injury and illness. Specific dangers in the workplace often involve:
Slip-and-falls Mental distress Attack by groups Search and seizure Assault and battery Injury during melees Unsanitary conditions Confrontations, conflicts Guarding high-risk inmates Enforcing courtroom safety Post-traumatic stress disorder Exposure to contagious diseaseIn addition to violent attacks, law enforcement officers and other public safety employees suffer a disproportionately higher risk of hypertension and heart disease because of their jobs. Massachusetts law thus provides additional compensation for correctional officers.
Special Provision for “Assault Pay”Workers’ compensation for correction officers is governed by Massachusetts General Law (MGL) c. 30, § 58. Under this provision, officers who, while in the performance of their duties, suffer bodily injury resulting from violent acts of prisoners or patients in custody are entitled to “assault pay.” Assault pay is awarded in addition to the full workers’ compensation benefits allowed under MGL c. 152, § 34. Supplemental assault pay is the difference between the officer’s weekly cash benefits awarded under workers’ compensation law and their regular salaries. Courts have refused to reduce these benefits based on partial disability status.
Calculation of Workers’ CompensationCorrection officers in the Commonwealth are entitled to special consideration under the law. Because officers are entitled to assault pay without subtracting lost wages from available sick leave credits, these benefits, added to regular workers’ compensation for total disability, may equal an officer’s total pre-injury salary. Calculated benefits under MGL c. 152 include:
- Medical care expenses
- Prescription medication
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Temporary total disability
- 60% of average weekly wage (up to maximum allowed by state)
- Period of up to 152 weeks
- Temporary partial disability
- Maximum of 60% of the temporary total disability rate
- 60% of difference between average weekly wage and earning capacity
- Period of up to 260 weeks
- Permanent and total disability
- 66.67% of average weekly wage (up to maximum allowed by state)
- No time limit – can collect for life
Correction officers may be entitled to receive additional compensation for longer duration for temporary partial or total disabilities that are work-related.
Defending Your RightsIf you are a correction officer who has been injured in the line of duty, contact the Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates today. We have helped numerous law enforcement and safety personnel recover substantial compensation after a workplace accident. Kantrovitz & Associates is honored to serve correction officers in Boston, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth, Merrimack River, and other counties. Call (800) 367-0871 for a free consultation or contact us online.