Maryland Law Increases Workers’ Compensation Pay for Correctional Officers

Every day, Maryland’s hard-working first responders and law enforcement officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public. Now, Maryland correctional officers now join our state’s police officers and firefighters in receiving better workplace injury compensation.

On May 15, 2018, Governor Larry Hogan signed Maryland House Bill 205 into law, providing for enhanced Maryland workers’ compensation benefits for state correctional officers who become injured or ill on the job. The bill, which was sponsored by Delegate Luke Clippinger from District 46, Baltimore City, adds correctional officers to the state definition of “public safety employees,” providing enhanced benefits for Maryland Workers’ Compensation claims submitted on or after October 1, 2018.

The Maryland General Assembly’s summary of Chapter 589 (House Bill 205) concerning Workers’ Compensation – Permanent Partial Disability – State Correctional Officers, reads as follows….

“If a public safety employee is awarded compensation for less than 75 weeks, the employer or its insurer shall pay the public safety employee compensation at the rate set for an award of compensation for a period greater than or equal to 75 weeks but less than 250 weeks….”

In addition,

“If a covered employee is awarded compensation for a period equal to or greater than 75 weeks but less than 250 weeks, the employer or its insurer shall pay the covered employee weekly compensation that equals two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the covered employee but does not exceed one-third of the State average weekly wage.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), correctional officers — also known as “COs” — have among the highest rates of injuries and illnesses, often resulting from their daily and dangerous contact with inmates. The National Institute of Justice reports that between 2005 and 2009, “the rate of sustained, nonfatal workplace injuries per 1,000 COs was 33, which ranked third only to police officers and security guards. Between 1999 and 2008, 113 U.S. COs lost their lives in the line of duty.”

The BLS reports the median income for a correctional officer in the United States is roughly $45,000 per year or $20 an hour. The new law in Maryland will help provide increased Workers’ Comp benefits for these men and women in the event they become ill or are injured while on the job in Maryland’s jails and prisons.

Sources:

General Assembly of Maryland
Official webpage for HB0205 (CH0589)

Workers’ Compensation – Permanent Partial Disability – State Correctional Officers

PDF download for language of the Act – Chapter 589 (HB 205)

Other

United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Occupational Outlook Handbook, Protective Service
Correctional Officers and Bailiffs

National Institute of Justice April 2018
Risky Business, Part 1 of 2 in a Series on Correctional Officer Wellness