DEMYSTIFYING ILA BENEFITS FOR LONGSHORE WORKERS AND THE IMPACT OF WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIMS
Part 2. The ILA Vacation & Holiday Fund
The HRSA-ILA Vacation & Holiday Fund is a benefit program established between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the Hampton Roads Shipping Association (HRSA) that provides paid vacation and holiday benefits to qualifying Longshore members of the ILA. Created to collect and administer the contributions required under the Collective Bargaining Agreements, as well as to pay benefits to qualified and eligible participants, the plan is distributed to a trust fund by a Board of Trustees. This Board of Trustees, comprised from the ILA and the HRSA, is responsible for ensuring that the Fund complies with the agreements and Federal Laws.
Benefits for Longshoremen Under the ILA Vacation & Holiday Fund
Vacation and holiday benefits under the HRSA-ILA Vacation & Holiday Fund are based on “qualifying” hours worked for contributing employers during a contract year. To be eligible for benefits, ILA Longshore workers must work and/or receive credit for a minimum of 700 hours during the eligibility year. Work hours, military service credit hours, workers’ compensation credit hours and Welfare weekly income credit hours are added together to determine a workers’ eligibility for vacation and holiday benefits under the Fund.
Benefits are paid automatically to those workers who meet the eligibility requirements in most cases. Currently, a worker will be paid for sixteen holidays and one, two, three or six weeks of vacation depending on the number of qualifying hours earned and/or credited during the contract year. For example, the basic benefits for a Longshoreman with:
- 700-899 hours during the eligibility year will receive one week paid vacation;
- 900 or more hours during the eligibility year will receive two weeks paid vacation and holiday pay.
Both “qualifying” hours worked and years of service in the ILA are taken into consideration to determine eligibility for three or six weeks paid vacation plus holiday pay. An ILA Longshore worker must have credit for at least:
- 1100 hours during the eligibility year, as well as worked during all of the past six years with credit for at least 700 hours in at least five of the past six years to receive three weeks paid vacation and holiday pay;
- 1300 hours during the eligibility year, plus work during all of the past twelve years with credit for at least 700 hours in at least ten of the twelve years to receive six weeks vacation and holiday pay.
How is Eligibility Determined Under the ILA Vacation & Holiday Fund?
Much like the ILA Welfare Fund, Longshore workers receive credit for an hour of service for each hour paid while working for employers participating in the ILA Vacation & Holiday Fund. Hours paid at time-and-a-half or double-time count as one hour only. Under certain circumstances, Longshore workers may receive credit towards the minimum 700-hour eligibility level for the time that they are unable to work. For example, Longshoremen who are ill and receiving short term disability, Longshoremen serving in the Uniformed Services, or Longshoremen who participate in training hours.
Who is Responsible for Reporting Hours?
Employers are required to send copies of their ILA jurisdiction time sheets to the ILA Vacation & Holiday Fund, and workers are credited with the hours reported. In cases involving workers’ compensation credit for a Longshore work injury, the employer or its insurance carrier typically will send the compensation reports, but this does not always happen. The Longshore worker will receive an Eligibility Certificate in November which shows the number of hours reported. If there is a discrepancy with the number of hours reported, the worker should contact Participant Services for a detailed work history. The Longshore worker may also call the Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) at (757) 423-3090 to request a copy of the detailed work history. If the claim is not resolved, the Longshore worker will have 30 days following the end of the calendar year to file a grievance with the Administrator.
How are the Benefits Determined and When are Benefits Paid?
Holidays and vacation weeks are translated to hours for payment. Vacations are paid at forty (40) hours per week. For instance, 3 weeks at 40 hours per week converts to 120 hours of paid vacation. Holidays are paid at eight (8) hours per day or 128 hours for a total of sixteen (l6) holidays.
Vacation and holiday benefits are paid at the pay rates in effect during the contract year that they are earned. The basic straight time rate that a worker qualifies for under the Collective Bargaining Agreements is used in calculating vacation and holiday benefits. Benefits are also subject to deductions, such as taxes, annuities and savings plans, union dues, etc.
Benefits earned under the ILA Vacation & Holiday Fund are paid automatically by March 15 following the contract year earned. Claims do not need to be filed for benefits. However, Longshore workers should contact the Fund’s participant Services Department to file a claim if they feel they are entitled to benefits that they are not receiving.
What is the Impact of Workers’ Compensation on Eligibility for the ILA Vacation & Holiday Fund?
Longshore workers who receive temporary total disability benefits (TTD) or temporary partial disability benefits (TPD) will receive credit toward their benefits eligibility. The number of credits received is based upon the vacation and holiday benefits qualified for during the year prior to the accident, but are prorated for only the period that workers’ compensation benefits were received. Credit hours are not granted for permanent total or permanent partial workers’ compensation disability benefits or a “lump-sum” compensation settlement. Eligibility credits will be adjusted if there is a retroactive declaration of permanent disability by a court or a commission that has jurisdiction in the case. An injured Longshoreman must confirm that the workers’ compensation credit hours have been submitted to the ILA Vacation & Holiday Fund by the employer or insurance carrier to ensure they receive the proper benefits.
In the finale of our 3-part series, RITE law will highlight the benefits for Longshoremen under the MILA Managed Health Care Trust Fund and the impact of workers’ compensation claims on those benefits.