Workers' Compensation

The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) provides workers' compensation coverage to federal employees for employment-related injuries and occupational diseases. Although all federal employees are covered by FECA, not all contractors, volunteers, council members, or students are covered and their FECA claims should be considered on a case by case basis. 

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Filing a workers' compensation claim

To file a new workers' compensation claim, please contact Managed Care Advisors (MCA) at 1-844-362-2524 or Claims must be initiated through ECOMP offsite link, the web-based system managed by the Department of Labor (DOL). Please use Internet Explorer to access ECOMP. In ECOMP, you will first be required to complete an OSHA-301, Injury and Illness Incident Report before you can proceed to the CA-1 or CA-2.  

 For additional information on ECOMP, see the links below or refer to the ECOMP references at the end of this page.

Please Note: Your Line/Staff Office will be billed for all medical charges related to the workers' compensation claim as well as compensation paid to your employee for the time they are unable to work.


CA-1 guidance (traumatic injuries)

A traumatic injury is defined as an injury that occurs during the course of one work shift. The appropriate form to file is a CA-1, Federal Employee's Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation.

When an employee is injured on duty and the injury did not occur over more than one work day/shift, you should immediately suggest medical treatment. If necessary, the supervisor can complete page 1 of a Authorization for Examination and/or Treatment (CA-16) so that the employee can provide it at the initial medical visit. A CA-16 obligates the government (NOAA) to pay for medical services but discretion must be exercised when it is issued. 

Prior to the issuance of the CA-16, a supervisor should consult with NOAA's workers' compensation contractor, Managed Care Advisors (MCA). MCA can help the supervisor determine if a CA-16 is warranted based on the facts related to the injury. If there is no time to consult with MCA due to an emergency or if MCA cannot be reached because it is after business hours (8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST), the supervisor may issue the CA-16 without first speaking with MCA. 

MCA can be reached at 1-844-DOC-CLAIM (1-844-362-2524) or


CA-2 guidance (occupational diseases)

An occupational illness is defined as a condition that arises over the course of more than one work shift. The appropriate form to file is a CA-2, Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation.

A medical condition arising over the course of more than one work day/shift may result from systemic infection, repeated stress or strain, or conditions of the work environment. An employee filing a CA-2 must provide detailed information to the Department of Labor in order to support the claim.  

Please see the CA-35, Evidence Required in Support of a Claim for Occupational Disease. Only in very rare circumstances are CA-16s issued for CA-2 claims; the supervisor must contact the Department of Labor for approval prior to providing a CA-16 to the employee.


CA-16 Guidance 

If Issuing a CA-16:

  • Give the CA-16 to the employee within four hours, whenever possible. A CA-16 should not be issued more than seven days after the date of injury. Instead, provide the employee with an Attending Physicians Report (form CA-20) so that medical evidence may be submitted. 
  • Issue the CA-16 even if you have doubts about the claim; you may indicate doubt in item 6(b).

A CA-16 (pdf) can be found on the Commerce Learning Center (CLC) offsite link. Access to the CA-16 is restricted to supervisors only. To retrieve the CA-16 for the first time, follow these steps:

  1. Login to CLC: offsite link.
  2. Search for "CA-16" in the search bar to the top right.
  3. Click on the CA-16 result that is returned. Note: If you see a window that has a Request button, select that.
  4. Your transcript should appear with the option to launch the form. Select Launch. Note that you may have to disable your pop-up blocker before selecting Launch. 
  5. This should automatically bring up the CA-16 in another window.

If you have previously retrieved a CA-16 via CLC:

  1. Go to your Completed Transcripts.
  2. Click on the box next to View Certificate.
  3. Select Launch. 

NOTE: If the reported injury is an exposure incident (e.g., the employee was punctured by a needle during a blood drive), it is very important to consult with MCA prior to issuing a CA-16. Many exposure incidents do not merit a CA-16.


Reporting a safety incident

To report a safety incident, visit: You will have to login with your NOAA email (without the and Gmail password.

Safety incidents must also be reported via an OSHA-301 in ECOMP. Completing an OSHA-301 in ECOMP automatically populates part of the CA-1 or CA-2 if the employee elects to file a workers' compensation claim.


Continuation of Pay (COP)

Federal workers' compensation may continue an employee's regular pay for up to 45 calendar days due to disability and/or medical treatment after a traumatic injury. This 45-day period is known as COP. The intent of the COP provision is to avoid interruption of the employee's income while the workers' compensation case is being adjudicated by DOL.  

COP is not considered compensation and is therefore subject to the usual deductions from pay, such as income tax and retirement allotments. In other words, COP is similar to annual or sick leave in that it is paid time off, except that COP does not get deducted from the employee's personal leave balance. If the 45-day period ends and the employee remains disabled from work, the employee may apply for compensation with DOL (via a CA-7 in ECOMP) or use personal leave.

The WebTA code for COP Is “OWCP Injury Leave.” This code should not be used in WebTA after the end of the official COP period as calculated by MCA. After the COP period ends, the employee can use “LWOP w/OWCP” on the WebTA and file a CA-7 with DOL to be paid by them during this Leave Without Pay. Please note that COP can only be used when an employee files a CA-1 for a traumatic injury.

 A supervisor may authorize COP for up to 10 work days while awaiting medical evidence to support disability from work although it is recommended that the supervisor consult with MCA prior to doing so. All COP beyond 10 days must be authorized by MCA (1-844-362-2524 or and must be supported by medical evidence. The supervisor will be notified by MCA regarding entitlement to COP. 

Further information about Continuation of Pay can be found in Chapter 5 of the CA-810, Injury Compensation for Federal Employees.


Returning the employee to work

One of the most important actions a supervisor can take when an employee is injured is to maintain contact with the employee even if the employee is temporarily disabled from work. Maintaining contact with the employee lets the employee know that the supervisor expects to receive regular work status updates from the employee and that the supervisor is willing to assist the employee with returning to work as soon as the employee is medically cleared to do so.

Employees should not receive workers' compensation when they could be working. It is up to NOAA managers to control workers' compensation costs by returning employees to work as soon as possible. The best time to do this is when the employee is in the first year of recovery.

If a supervisor feels that an employee is able to return to work but is not doing so on their own initiative, the supervisor should contact NOAA's Return to Work Initiative Program Manager, Jennifer Heyob,, to assist in making a return to work offer to the employee. The offer must include specific information and terms, so the supervisor should always receive assistance in this area from HR.

Once an injured employee is cleared by their doctor to return to work, the employee returns to the position held when injured, if possible. The physician may provide limits on what the employee is able to do (e.g. sit for no more than 50 minutes without a break). The supervisor should make every effort to return the employee to work despite any restrictions. For NOAA, it is always financially beneficial to have an employee working rather than not working and receiving compensation. 

Light duty or limited duty should be considered as options if an employee cannot return to performing all of the physical aspects of the position. This may mean temporarily modifying the employee's duties either to eliminate that job requirement or to find alternate means for carrying it out within the physical restrictions. It also may mean starting the employee at limited hours (e.g., 4 hours per day) and then slowly increasing the number of hours worked over a number of days or weeks. 

If an employee’s injury leaves them unable to perform their previous position, then the employee should be placed in a position they can perform, even if it is a lower-paying position. DOL will pay the employee the difference between the two positions, although that cost is charged back to NOAA. If this situation occurs, please contact Jennifer Heyob on to discuss reassignment to a new position. 



ECOMP references

Workers' compensation references