Department of Defense Education Activity

Continuation of Pay (COP)

An employee who sustains a disabling job-related traumatic injury is entitled to continuation of regular pay (COP) for a period not to exceed 45 calendar days. To qualify for COP, the injured employee must file written notice of injury and claim for COP within 30 days of the injury. COP is not considered compensation and is subject to taxes and other payroll deductions. The employee must make separate claim for monetary compensation if the disability exceeds 45 days or results in any permanent disability.
  • What conditions must be met to receive COP?§10.205
  • May an employee who uses leave after an injury later decide to use COP instead?§10.206
  • May an employee who returns to work, then stops work again due to the effects of the injury, receive COP?§10.207
  • What are the employee's responsibilities in COP cases? §10.210
  • What are the employer's responsibilities in COP cases?§10.211
  • How does OWCP compute the number of days of COP used?§10.215
  • How is the pay rate for COP calculated?§10.216
  • Is COP charged if the employee continues to work, but in a different job that pays less?§10.217
  • When is an employer not required to pay COP?§10.220
  • How is a claim for COP controverted?§10.221
  • When may an employer terminate COP which has already begun?§10.222
  • Are there other circumstances under which OWCP will not authorize payment of COP?§10.223
  • What happens if OWCP finds that the employee is not entitled to COP after it has been paid?§10.224

Recurrence of Disability. If an employee returns to work following a work stoppage without using all 45 days of COP and then suffers a recurrence of disability within 45 days of the first return to duty, he or she should submit a completed Form CA-2a and may elect to use the remaining days of COP. See 20 C.F.R. §10.207.

  • (1) Time lost on the day of injury that is charged to administrative leave is considered a work stoppage, whether the time is used to obtain medical treatment or for disability. If the time away from work is so minimal that no administrative leave is charged, such as a brief visit to the health unit, this is not considered a work stoppage for the purpose of counting time.


  • (2) If the 45-day entitlement has been exhausted, or the recurrence begins more than 45 days after the employee first returned to work, the employing agency may not pay COP. Rather, the employee should claim compensation for wage loss on Form CA-7.


  • (3) COP is paid for the entire period of any continuous disability which extends beyond the 45-day limit as long as the 45 days have not been used. Any valid period of entitlement to COP for the injury must begin, however, within 45 days of the injury or of the first return to work after the injury.


For example, an employee is injured on January 1. The employing agency provides several hours of administrative leave, enabling the employee to obtain medical attention. On January 2, the employee works a full day. The employee is not disabled due to the injury until February 10, but is disabled and off work February 10, 11, and 12 and receives COP for those three days. The employee returns to work on February 13 and does not lose any further time from work due to the injury until March 17. On March 17, 18 and 19, he again loses time from work due to the disability. The 45-day period begins to run when the employee returned to work on January 2, because work stoppage occurred at the time of injury, even though it was covered by administrative leave. The employee is entitled to COP for the time lost in February, but is not entitled to COP for time lost in March, as it is more than 45 days since the first return to work.

The time limit for the use of COP is 45 days from the first return to work following the initial period of disability.