Workers’ compensation and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are two legal protections for employees in the United States. Can an employer require an employee to use FMLA and workers comp simultaneously? Learn the specific circumstances that may lead to that situation. If you have questions about workers comp, please consider scheduling a consultation with the experienced Missouri workers’ compensation attorneys at Steelman Gaunt Crowley by calling (573) 341-8336.
How Can Employees Use Workers’ Compensation and the Family and Medical Leave Act in the Workplace?
FMLA and workers comp may seem similar, but they are different. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that assists employees who are injured or become ill due to their job. These benefits typically include payment for medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs. Workers’ compensation provides financial support to employees unable to work due to a work-related injury or illness. Additionally, it encourages the prompt return of employees to the workplace. The specifics of workers’ compensation programs will vary depending on the jurisdiction.
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law in the United States that provides individuals with 12 weeks of unpaid leave for each year. The employee is also entitled to return to their job or an equivalent job after taking leave under the FMLA, and the employer must maintain the employee’s health insurance during the leave period. Also, FMLA prohibits employers from retaliating against an individual for taking leave under the act. Any employee who is eligible for leave can do so for specific reasons, such as:
- The birth or adoption of a child
- The care of a child, parent, or spouse with a serious health condition
- The care of a serious health condition of the employee
What Are the Differences Between Workers’ Comp and FMLA Leave?
FMLA and workers comp are two separate types of legal provisions that provide benefits to employees who cannot work due to illness or injury. However, there are some crucial differences between the two. One significant difference is the cause of the illness or injury. If the inability to work is due to work conditions or a work-related accident, an employee often will file a workers’ compensation claim. On the other hand, if the illness or injury is not work-related, an employee can file for FMLA leave. If you have questions about a job-related leave of absence, please consider contacting the dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at Steelman Gaunt Crowley to learn more about your legal rights.
Does FMLA Leave Run Concurrently with Workers Compensation?
When an employee is out of work due to a work-related injury or illness and is receiving workers’ compensation benefits, they may also be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This means the employee can use their 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA to run concurrently with their workers’ compensation leave. This can help to ensure that the employee has a consistent source of income. Their job is also protected while they are out of work recovering from their injury or illness. In these cases, an employer usually grants the employee whichever type of leave gives them the most rights and benefits. If an employee is out on worker’s comp, the time off may count against their 12 weeks of FMLA time. If an employer chooses to do this, they must notify the employee in writing that they are being placed under FMLA leave.
Do All Employers Offer FMLA Leave?
Not all employers are required to provide leave under FMLA, and not all employees are eligible for leave under the act. Employers are only obligated to provide FMLA leave if they have 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the worksite. Additionally, employees are only eligible for leave under the FMLA if they have worked for the employer for at least 12 consecutive months.
Additionally, they must have accrued 1,250 working hours during that time. Similarly, not all injuries or illnesses are covered by workers’ compensation. To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the injury or illness needs to be related to the employee’s job. If the injury or illness is not associated with the employee’s job, then the employee would not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
What Happens When FMLA Leave Has Been Exhausted?
When employees exhaust their 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, they are no longer protected by the law’s job protection provisions. This means the employer is no longer required to hold the employee’s job open and can legally terminate the employee if they choose. However, an employer may decide to grant an employee additional leave beyond the 12 weeks provided by the FMLA, however, they are not legally required to offer additional time off to employees.
If employees exhaust their 12 weeks of unpaid leave and cannot return to work due to their injury or illness, they may be eligible for other types of leave, such as short-term or long-term disability. These types of leave will provide the employee with a source of income while they cannot work. Additionally, these leaves of absences can help bridge the gap between the end of the employee’s FMLA leave and their return to work. In some cases, when an employee exhausts their 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA, the employee may be able to use the remaining balance of their Paid Time Off (PTO) or vacation time to cover the time they are off work. However, it will depend on the specific policies of the employer.
Discuss Your Employee Rights With an Experienced Missouri Workers’ Compensation Attorney
FMLA and workers comp are two important legal protections for employees in the United States. Workers’ compensation provides financial support and medical benefits for injured employees or those who have become ill due to their job. In contrast, the FMLA provides job-protected leave for specific medical or family reasons. While both programs have different qualifications and coverage, they both play a role in protecting employees and ensuring they have the support they need when they cannot work due to a work-related injury or illness or a serious personal or family matter. Employees should understand their rights and the policies of their employers to use these protections. If you have questions about leaves of absence at your workplace, please consider scheduling a consultation with our dedicated and experienced Missouri workers’ compensation attorneys at Steelman Gaunt Crowley by calling (573) 341-8336 today.