Yes, you can because nothing under United States or Florida law prevents you from receiving both Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits and workers’ compensation payments. However, understanding how you can maximize your benefits and payments when both programs overlap can be confusing.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Kogan & DiSalvo can help you determine how to apply for FMLA and workers’ compensation benefits in ways that protect your rights to remain employed–while enabling you to collect the benefits you need and deserve. Schedule a free consultation, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
When are you able to claim FMLA benefits?
You may be entitled to take unpaid time off under FMLA if your employer has more than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius and you have been regularly employed for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during that time.
If you meet these conditions, your employer must allow you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off if, for example:
- You give birth and care for your newborn child, or you are adopting a child.
- You are tending to a family member’s serious medical condition.
- Your own medical condition prevents you from performing your regular job task.
When you return to your job from FMLA leave, your employer must assign you to your previous position or perform equivalent tasks.
When are workers’ compensation benefits available?
You can file a workers’ compensation claim when you are injured while on the job and your injury prevents you from continuing to work. Your benefits will include reimbursement for your medical expenses and replace at least a portion of the wages you cannot earn while you recuperate.
Within certain limits, your workers’ compensation benefits will continue for as long as you cannot work. However, no provisions under workers’ compensation laws require your employer to re-hire you.
How do FMLA and workers’ compensation benefits differ?
The primary differences between the two programs are that you will not be paid when taking an FMLA leave. Your right to return to your job is not protected under workers’ compensation, but the benefits might also last longer than your FMLA rights.
Notwithstanding these differences, FMLA and workers’ compensation benefits have similarities, which could lead to complications. Assume an employee suffers an injury requiring ten weeks of recovery time.
The employee and their employer might face several alternatives in this situation, including:
- The employer might force the employee to use FMLA rather than file a workers’ compensation benefits claim to keep the employer’s insurance premiums low.
- The employee’s recovery is not progressing as expected, and the employee needs additional time away from work beyond the limits of FMLA.
- The employee elects to take FMLA leave but does not provide the employer with adequate notice of an injury within thirty days after it happened, which may bar the employee from later recovering workers’ compensation benefits.
- The employee gets workers’ comp benefits for ten weeks, but the employer eliminates his work position, leaving the employee without a job after they are fully recovered.
An employee who is at a loss about handling these alternatives should not hesitate to contact a workers’ compensation attorney who can help map out the best strategy to recover the maximum benefits available under both FMLA and workers’ compensation.
Call Kogan & DiSalvo for a Free Consultation about FMLA and Workers’ Comp Questions
If you need time away from work to handle a medical matter and your employer is forcing you to take FMLA, or if you have any other questions about how to coordinate your FMLA and workers’ compensation benefits, please contact us at Kogan & DiSalvo. We can determine your options and recommend the best alternative to maximize the benefits of both. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.