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Hurt workers may be eligible for workers’ compensation and FMLA

Any Ohio workers injured on the job may know that taking a leave can lead to many complications. The Family Medical Leave Act and workers’ compensation may seem to conflict, but can actually work in favor of a hurt employee depending on the circumstances.

First, a better understanding of both is necessary. Workers’ compensation is usually granted when someone is injured because of his or her job. This means that medical expenses will likely be covered if the injury can be associated to the worker’s job. Compensation will also be given for time that is spent recovering.

The Family Medical Leave Act is much different. This allows any employee to leave his or her position for up to 12 weeks to recover from an injury or illness or to assist a family member in doing so. If the employee returns within 12 weeks, their position is guaranteed. Any time taken off under FMLA is unpaid, but employee benefits continue throughout the period.

One of the major areas of overlap for these two provisions is workplace injuries. An individual who is severely injured while on the job and needs to spend at least three days recovering or requires any in-patient procedure would be eligible for both. If you do not receive notice that your leave is being accounted for as FMLA time, you may request that it begin as soon as you want.

If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, an employer may request light duty of you. Under FMLA, you have the right to refuse, but it may put your workers’ compensation benefits in jeopardy.

But remember that you should never feel intimidated into not accepting your workers’ compensation benefits if you are entitled to them. Most workers’ compensation laws contain retaliation clauses that prevents employers from taking advantage of you.

Source: HR.BLR.com, “Workers’ Compensation and FMLA Conflicts: What Are Your Options?,” Jan. 17, 2012

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