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The cost of paying salaries to Los Angeles civilian workers who are temporarily disabled because they have been hurt on the job has gone up 50% over five years, reaching $18 million last year. Employees are claiming more injuries and taking longer injury leaves.

City officials don’t know why the numbers are climbing so rapidly for office managers, custodians and other non-public-safety workers, but some suspect that L.A.’s generous paid leave policy has created a perverse incentive for employees to game the system. Because injury pay is tax-free, workers can actually earn more money on injury leave than they do on the job.


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