Using Short-Term Disability to Get Paid During Your FMLA Absence
The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave in a 12-month period for eligible employees. To be eligible, an employee must be employed at least 12 months with the employer and must have worked 1,250 hours in those 12-months prior to requesting leave.
Know what FMLA Means for you and your family.The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only requires that your employer provide unpaid leave. The major benefit of the FMLA is that it generally secures your job once you return from caring for yourself or others and to provide continued access to health insurance. Generally, y our employer could lay you off as part of a layoff affecting the company as a whole, as long as the action is not related to FMLA leave. Your employer could also terminate you if it becomes clear you will not be able to return to work.
Use your sick leave.As it currently exists the 12 weeks that you may be eligible for under the FMLA is only for unpaid leave. However, the law permits you to choose (or your employer to require you) to use accrued paid leave, such as vacation or sick leave, for some or all of the FMLA leave period.
Discover whether short-term disability can come to the rescue.Determine whether your employer has a short-term disability policy (STD) that can assist you for your personal illness during this time. It may cover you for more or less than the 12 week FMLA period and may not cover pre-existing injuries, so read your policy carefully. Be proactive and turn to your human resources department to complete the application process. Remember, the STD provisions are independent of the FMLA, Social Security Disability and any state law requirements for medical leave.
Seek an attorney if you feel your FMLA has been denied or interfered with illegally.Claiming that you need to request the leave on a particular form, discouraging you from taking time off or insisting that you return to work before your scheduled time are just a few ways your employer may be legally liable for FMLA violations. For more advice, seek legal assistance now. Attorneys may handle your case on a contingency fee basis or by seeking attorney fees from your employer should you win.