19-8-905. Absence due to injury or illness. (1) Time, not to exceed 5 years, during which a member is absent because of an injury or illness is considered membership service if, within 1 year after the end of the absence, the injury or illness is determined to have arisen out of and in the course of the member's employment. However, the member may not earn service credit for the absence unless the member complies with subsections (2) and (3), in which case the absence is considered as time spent in service for both service credit and membership service.
(2) (a) A member absent because of an employment-related injury entitling the member to workers' compensation payments may, upon the member's return to service, contribute an amount equal to the contributions that the member would have made on the basis of the member's compensation at the commencement of the member's absence plus regular interest accruing from 1 year from the date after the member returns to service to the date the member contributes for the period of absence.
(b) Whenever a member elects to contribute under subsection (2)(a), the employer shall contribute employer contributions for the period of absence based on the salary as calculated in subsection (2)(a) and may pay interest on the employer's contribution calculated in the same manner as interest on the employee's contribution under subsection (2)(a). An employer electing to make an interest payment shall do so for all employees similarly situated. If the employer elects not to pay the interest costs, this amount must be paid by the employee.
(3) At some time after returning to service, a member shall file with the board a written notice of the member's intent to pay the contributions under subsection (2).
(4) A member loses the right to contribute for an absence under this section if all of the member's accumulated contributions are refunded pursuant to 19-2-602 or for the period of time during which benefits are received if the member retires during the absence.