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Can I lose vacation time, sick time or FMLA time for filing a workers’ compensation claim?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

You will not automatically lose other work benefits, such as paid time off or FMLA protections, as a result of a workers’ compensation claim. However, there are some intricacies in how these programs interact.

There are several things that you should understand about your workers’ compensation claims and your work benefits.

Paid time off accrual

Many employers provide paid vacation days, sick leave and other paid time off to employees. When you take extended time off work due to a work injury, you may not accrue additional PTO during your absence. Verify your employer’s policy, but many have accrual policies based on hours worked. If you are not working, you likely are not accruing additional paid leave.

However, the law protects your previously accrued paid leave. Your employer cannot force you to use vacation days or sick leave to cover your time off for a workers’ comp injury. Those days remain yours to use later.

FMLA eligibility

The Family Medical Leave Act provides job protection for serious medical issues. FMLA leave runs concurrently with workers’ compensation leave in most cases. To qualify for FMLA, you must meet the eligibility requirements. If you do, it entitles you to 12 weeks of job-protected leave. This protection applies whether workers’ compensation covers your absence or not.

Employers reported 2.8 million workplace injuries and illnesses in 2022. Affected employees should understand how a work injury could impact their income, benefits and employment status before deciding on a workers’ compensation claim. Careful planning allows you to protect your accrued time off and potentially secure FMLA coverage if your situation qualifies.