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FMLA and Workers’ Compensation3 minute read

Many people who have workers’ compensation injuries may also qualify for FMLA.  FMLA stands for the Family Medical Leave Act.  Congress passed this law in 1993 to provide job protection for employees who needed to miss time from their jobs.

Before FMLA, an employee who had to miss time from work because of a sickness or injury might lose his or her job.  Many states, including Georgia, operate under the “employment at will” doctrine.  This rule allowed an employer to terminate someone’s employment for almost any reason at all, even if it was a bad reason.

Suppose an employee got sick and had to miss two weeks from work.  Under the “employment at will” rule, the employer might choose to go ahead and fire the employee.  The possibility of being fired put employees in a very bad situation if they were sick or injured.

FMLA leave may be able to protect your job after a work injuryHow did the Family Medical Leave Act help solve this problem?

FMLA provided certain employees with protected leave from their job in limited situations. Those employees who are covered by FMLA can receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period.

It is important to understand that FMLA leave is unpaid. While it does not pay you, FMLA leave protects your job and prevents your employer from firing you during the time you are on FMLA leave.

Remember that not everyone is covered by FMLA. First, FMLA only covers employers with 50 or more employees in a 75 mile radius. Second, it only covers employees who have been at the company at least 12 months and worked at least 1250 hours in the last 12 months. Third, it only covers leave for serious health conditions of the employee or the employee’s spouse, child, or parent or certain leave to take care of a child.

How do FMLA and workers’ compensation work together?

Georgia workers’ compensation law requires your employer to pay you workers’ compensation benefits when you suffer a compensable work-related injury. Many times, the workers’ compensation injury will cause you to miss time from work.

Isn’t your job protected while you are out on workers’ compensation? While it may seem strange, there is nothing in Georgia’s workers’ compensation law that prevents your employer from firing you after you are injured at work. FMLA provides some job protection because employees can often receive up to 12 weeks of leave.

If you are out of work because of a work-related injury, you should receive temporary total disability benefits. You may also be eligible for FMLA leave to protect your job for up to 12 weeks.  This can really be helpful if you have suffered an injury.

If you are eligible for FMLA leave and return to work within 3 months, you can probably protect your job.  Although the FMLA leave itself is technically “unpaid”, the workers’ compensation benefits you should receive essentially turn it into paid leave.

What if I am not eligible for FMLA or my FMLA leave runs out?

Your employer may fire you once your FMLA leave runs out.  Also, there is nothing that necessarily prevents your employer from firing your once you are back at work.  Depending on what is happening in your workers’ compensation case when you are fired, your workers’ compensation temporary total disability benefits may continue or may stop.

There are some strange rules under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws that affect whether your benefits will continue after you are fired.  Exactly what is going on in your case is very important.  If you have to fight to get your benefits restarted, it can take many months or even longer.

If you are still injured, it is very difficult to go this long without money coming in.  Sometimes, what is done before you are fired can prevent your benefits from being stopped.

If you are concerned that you may be fired, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation cases. An attorney can discuss the workers’ compensation rules in Georgia and how they would affect your case.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
moombimoombi
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.
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