5503.08 Occupational injury leave.

Each state highway patrol officer shall, in addition to the sick leave benefits provided in section 124.38 of the Revised Code, be entitled to occupational injury leave. Occupational injury leave of one thousand five hundred hours with pay may, with the approval of the superintendent of the state highway patrol, be used for absence resulting from each independent injury incurred in the line of duty, except that occupational injury leave is not available for injuries incurred during those times when the patrol officer is actually engaged in administrative or clerical duties at a patrol facility, when a patrol officer is on a meal or rest period, or when the patrol officer is engaged in any personal business. The superintendent of the state highway patrol shall, by rule, define those administrative and clerical duties and those situations where the occurrence of an injury does not entitle the patrol officer to occupational injury leave. Each injury incurred in the line of duty which aggravates a previously existing injury, whether the previously existing injury was so incurred or not, shall be considered an independent injury. When its use is authorized under this section, all occupational injury leave shall be exhausted before any credit is deducted from unused sick leave accumulated under section 124.38 of the Revised Code, except that, unless otherwise provided by the superintendent of the state highway patrol, occupational injury leave shall not be used for absence occurring within seven calendar days of the injury. During that seven calendar day period, unused sick leave may be used for such an absence.

When occupational injury leave is used, it shall be deducted from the unused balance of the patrol officer's occupational injury leave for that injury on the basis of one hour for every one hour of absence from previously scheduled work.

Before a patrol officer may use occupational injury leave, the patrol officer shall:

(A) Apply to the superintendent for permission to use occupational injury leave on a form that requires the patrol officer to explain the nature of the patrol officer's independent injury and the circumstances under which it occurred; and

(B) Submit to a medical examination. The individual who conducts the examination shall report to the superintendent the results of the examination and whether or not the independent injury prevents the patrol officer from attending work.

The superintendent shall, by rule, provide for periodic medical examinations of patrol officers who are using occupational injury leave. The individual selected to conduct the medical examinations shall report to the superintendent the results of each such examination, including a description of the progress made by the patrol officer in recovering from the independent injury, and whether or not the independent injury continues to prevent the patrol officer from attending work.

The superintendent shall appoint to conduct medical examinations under this division individuals authorized by the Revised Code to do so, including any physician assistant, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse practitioner, or certified nurse-midwife.

A patrol officer is not entitled to use or continue to use occupational injury leave after refusing to submit to a medical examination or if the individual examining the patrol officer reports that the independent injury does not prevent the patrol officer from attending work.

A patrol officer who falsifies an application for permission to use occupational injury leave or a medical examination report is subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.

The superintendent shall, by rule, prescribe forms for the application and medical examination report.

Occupational injury leave pay made according to this section is in lieu of such workers' compensation benefits as would have been payable directly to a patrol officer pursuant to sections 4123.56 and 4123.58 of the Revised Code, but all other compensation and benefits pursuant to Chapter 4123. of the Revised Code are payable as in any other case. If at the close of the period, the patrol officer remains disabled, the patrol officer is entitled to all compensation and benefits, without a waiting period pursuant to section 4123.55 of the Revised Code based upon the injury received, for which the patrol officer qualifies pursuant to Chapter 4123. of the Revised Code. Compensation shall be paid from the date that the patrol officer ceases to receive the patrol officer's regular rate of pay pursuant to this section.

Occupational injury leave shall not be credited to or, upon use, deducted from, a patrol officer's sick leave.

Effective Date: 03-31-2003