FMLA and Workers’ Compensation are both programs to protect workers when they suffer personal injuries or family problems. They work in different ways and can sometimes be used together. An Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney from The Armstrong Law Firm, PLC, can explain more about each. Contact us to schedule a consultation today in Tulsa.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation is insurance mandated by Oklahoma state law that your employer carries to pay for your medical expenses and cover a portion of your wages if you become injured on the job. Benefits are provided to those who get ill or hurt while at work or performing work-related activities away from your company’s property. You may also get benefits if you become disabled, re-injure a former injury, or aggravate a preexisting medical condition due to your current working conditions or a work-related accident.
What Is the FMLA?
The Family & Medical Leave Act is a federal law created in 1993 to help employees get time off work without losing their job when they have family needs. Employers must give you up to 12 weeks off to deal with a serious medical condition – either for you or a close family member. This can be helpful for circumstances like:
- A work-related injury
- A non-work-related injury
- Birth or adoption of a child
- Taking care of a sick relative
- Recovering from a serious illness
Your time off does not have to be job-related. FMLA is unpaid leave but you retain any health insurance benefits you had before taking leave. You cannot be demoted or terminated because you take FMLA leave.
If you have short-term disability benefits through your employer, you may be able to receive these benefits while you are on FMLA leave. You may also use any accrued vacation or sick time while on FMLA leave; this can provide needed income while you are off work.
You must work for your employer for at least one full year before qualifying for FMLA leave. Plus, employers with less than 50 employees are not required to offer FMLA leave.
How Do Workers’ Compensation and the FMLA Overlap?
Workers’ Compensation and FMLA can work together for you if you become injured at work. Your work-related injury qualifies you to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, but you could also use your FMLA leave to make sure you job will be there when you return. If this isn’t a concern, you should save your FMLA benefits for a possible future need.
Your employer is involved in both Workers’ Compensation and FMLA. They must take the appropriate action in either case. An injury report must be filed with Workers’ Compensation to start your benefits and they must inform you if that time will be counted toward FMLA. That determination must be made at the beginning and not later after you have already been off work. Never allow your employer to coerce you into taking earned personal sick days instead of Workers’ Compensation or FMLA.
Get the Benefits You Deserve in Oklahoma
Before deciding if you need to combine FMLA with Workers’ Compensation after suffering a work injury, contact The Armstrong Law Firm, PLC, in Tulsa for a consultation. There are regulations that apply to both programs that may change your options. A knowledgeable Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney can explain more about these programs and the laws that govern them, and how they apply to your specific case.
We offer a free initial consultation to review your options when you become injured at work and have questions about Workers’ Compensation. Our experienced attorneys are your advocate to help you recover and receive everything you deserve under the law. For seasoned, compassionate counsel and legal representation, call us today at (918) 582-2500 or complete the contact form online to request a free consultation.