How Does FMLA and Workers’ Compensation Work Together?

FMLA provides unpaid leave for serious health conditions, while workers’ comp offers benefits for job injuries, and both can be used concurrently.


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Navigating the complexities of workplace injuries can be daunting, especially when it involves understanding how different laws and benefits, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and workers’ compensation, intersect. If you’re grappling with an injury sustained at work, it’s crucial to understand how these provisions can work in tandem to support your recovery and job security.

Understanding FMLA and Workers’ Compensation

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): The FMLA is a federal law that allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons. This generally includes up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for serious health conditions that make the employee unable to perform their job functions.

Workers’ Compensation: This is a state-mandated insurance program that provides compensation to employees who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses. Unlike FMLA, workers’ compensation offers financial benefits, including medical expenses and compensation for lost wages.

How They Work Together

Concurrent Use: Often, employees who suffer from a work-related injury or illness can avail themselves of both FMLA leave and workers’ compensation simultaneously. In such cases, the FMLA leave runs concurrently with workers’ compensation benefits, meaning the time you are off work receiving workers’ compensation benefits for a work-related injury may also count against your 12-week FMLA entitlement.

Job Protection: While workers’ compensation provides financial benefits, FMLA ensures job protection during your leave. This means that upon your return, you are generally entitled to be reinstated to your original job or to an equivalent job with the same pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Medical Benefits: Under workers’ compensation, you receive benefits to cover medical expenses related to your injury or illness. FMLA does not provide such benefits, but it does protect your health insurance benefits, allowing you to maintain your health coverage under the same terms and conditions as if you had not taken leave.

Important Considerations

  1. Eligibility: Not all employees are eligible for FMLA leave. Eligibility criteria include working for the employer for at least 12 months and having clocked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of FMLA leave.
  2. Notification: It’s essential to notify your employer about your need for FMLA leave and to provide the necessary documentation for both FMLA and workers’ compensation claims.
  3. Coordination with Employer Policies: Some employers may require you to use your accrued paid leave (such as sick leave or vacation leave) concurrently with FMLA leave.

Navigating the overlap of FMLA and workers’ compensation can be complex, and every situation is unique. If you’re facing challenges related to a work injury and are unsure about your rights and benefits under FMLA and workers’ compensation, seeking guidance can make a significant difference.

At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, we understand the intricacies of these legal areas and are committed to providing you with the support and guidance you need during this challenging time. If you have questions or need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out. Call us today at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation, and let us help you navigate your path to recovery and job security with confidence.

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Updated: March 26, 2024