When employees get injured or seriously sick, they face various challenges, including health issues, potential loss of income, and more. Thankfully, employers provide protections for workers’ rights in these scenarios, through programs like FMLA and workers’ compensation. However, how do these programs work, and how do they interact? If you’re an employee in need of health or financial relief, understanding these programs’ ins and outs is of utmost importance.
Difference Between FMLA and Workers’ Compensation
First things first, let’s talk about the main difference between FMLA and workers’ compensation. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees that qualified employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave during any 12-month period without fearing job loss.
On the other hand, workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides medical benefits and wage replacement to employees who get injured or sick as a result of their work. So, while FMLA provides time off for any family or medical-related reason, workers’ compensation covers work-related injuries and illnesses.
However, there are situations where these two programs can overlap. For instance, if you’re injured at work and require treatment for your injury, you could have the option to use both programs simultaneously.
According to FMLA rules, if you are eligible for leave and you’re off work for a serious health condition covered by workers’ comp, your approved FMLA leave could be counted concurrently as workers’ comp time off. This way, can take advantage of both programs without losing your job or your wages.
Let’s say you have an on-the-job injury that impacts your ability to work. Your doctor prescribes a period of complete rest. In this case, you could be eligible for paid workers’ comp disability benefits under your employer’s insurance policy. These benefits would replace a portion of your lost wages. This prevents financial concerns while you recover. However, many WC insurers require you to use your accrued FMLA leave during this time.
It’s important to note that FMLA doesn’t require employers to provide healthcare benefits during unpaid leave. However, during the time you’re out on workers’ compensation leave, most employers provide healthcare coverage even though you’re not getting paid. If that’s the case, you’ll likely need to pay your part of the insurance premium, just like you would if you were working.
If your employer provides short-term disability benefits, you may also be able to use those benefits concurrently with your workers’ comp payments. However, it’s important to read the policy carefully to understand how the benefits. You’ll also learn what impact they might have on your return-to-work situation because the rules can vary.
How Do Workers’ Compensation and FMLA Work Together?
When it comes to workers’ rights, FMLA and workers’ compensation are two programs that provide crucial support. While these programs have different roles, they can work together to aid injured or ill employees. Knowing how these programs intersect can make a big difference in protecting your job. You’ll also have more peace of mind and financial stability. If you have questions or concerns, reach out to your employer’s HR department. You can also speak to an attorney who specializes in these areas.