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What Happens When FMLA and Workers’ Compensation Benefits Overlap?

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If your injury arose out of and in the course of employment, your employer’s insurance company would likely cover some of the expenses and losses associated with your work-related injury. But what happens if you need to take time off from work because of a serious illness not related to work or because you need to care for a family member?

Lawmakers created the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for these situations. The FMLA may protect you from losing your job if you need to take unpaid leave due to a serious health condition or in the event of other emergencies.

But what happens when FMLA and workers’ compensation benefits overlap?

Who’s Eligible to Take Leave Under the FMLA?

You are eligible to take leave under the FMLA if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You work for an employer who is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act;
  2. You have worked for the employer for at least 12 months;
  3. You have worked at least 1,250 hours during the past 12 months; and
  4. Your employer has at least 50 employees at a location where you work.

If you meet the above-mentioned criteria, you may qualify for FMLA in any of the following circumstances:

  • Inability to perform your duties due to a serious health condition;
  • Caring for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) who has a serious health condition; or
  • Caring or bonding with a newborn, foster, or adopted child during the first year from birth or placement.

While you will not be paid while taking leave under the FMLA, you are still entitled to all of your benefits, including health benefits. Also, under federal law, your employer must provide an employee with the same or equivalent job upon their return from leave.

When Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Florida’s workers’ compensation program covers a portion of your lost wages and medical expenses when you are unable to go back to work after a work-related injury or illness. However, unlike taking leave under the FMLA, your employer is not required to guarantee that your job will be available upon your return.

If you had a work-related injury or illness that turned into a serious health condition, your FMLA and workers’ compensation benefits could overlap. If your condition qualifies for both, FMLA leave may run concurrently with workers’ compensation benefits.

If this happens, you will receive workers’ comp benefits while the time you are off is counted against your 12-week leave under the FMLA. Using your FMLA benefits does not undermine the benefits provided by the workers’ compensation program. When FMLA and workers’ comp run concurrently, your employer is legally required to provide leave based on what gives you the most benefits.

If FMLA and workers’ compensation benefits overlap in your case, contact a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney to evaluate your particular situation and give you legal advice. Speak with our lawyers at Kobal Law if your employer is trying to pressure you to take leave under the FMLA instead of receiving workers’ comp benefits. Call at 813-873-2440 to discuss your situation.

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