What’s The Difference Between FMLA & Workers’ Compensation?
If you are injured at work, the next step for most people is to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, and most of the time, this is the right call. However, for those whose injuries will require a long time to heal, it may be possible for them to take advantage of unpaid leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Too many employers think that an injured employee must choose one or the other, but in many cases, it is possible to receive the benefits of both.
FMLA: Designed To Protect Your Job
The FMLA is a federal law signed in 1993, and it establishes the right of certain employees who qualify to take “unpaid, job-protected” leave, while retaining the same health insurance coverage as if they had not taken leave. While it is mostly used for family medical emergencies, such as the birth or adoption of a child, or taking care of a family member, the law explicitly states that the leave can be used for a “serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of their job.”
FMLA is designed to ensure that you have a job to return to once your leave is exhausted or the situation that prompted it has improved. However, it is unpaid, and it is not intended to serve as a safety net in terms of finances. In addition, only ‘qualified’ employees may take it – those who have (1) worked for their employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours over that time; and (2) work at a location where their employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles.
Workers’ Compensation: Designed To Let You Heal
Workers’ compensation law is intended to give an injured employee time to recuperate and get back to work quicker than leaving them to their own devices might do in the long run. By comparison with FMLA, a successful workers’ compensation claim entitles an injured employee to full pay while off the job, as well as medical care (though from a healthcare professional chosen by the employer, rather than on one’s own).
If an employee is able to qualify for both FMLA and workers’ compensation, there is no law as of this writing that precludes them taking both at once, given that they are intended to do different things for the worker. That said, it is not uncommon for an unscrupulous employer to try and force an employee to just take FMLA – successful workers’ compensation claims raise employers’ insurance premiums. If this happens to you, it is important to contact an attorney quickly and stand up for your rights.
Contact An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been hurt at work, it is a good idea to try and claim all the benefits to which you are entitled – the easier recovery is, the sooner you can get life back to normal. If you have questions about filing a workers’ compensation claim in Florida, an Orlando workers’ compensation attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can help to get them answered. Call our office today for a free consultation.