Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Jan 19, 2016

Does the FMLA apply to on-the-job injuries?

Q&ALeave LawsWorkers’ Comp 

Q: Our employee was injured on-the-job and is currently off work under a workers’ compensation claim. Does the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) apply when an employee is off work for a workers’ comp claim?

A: Yes, if all elements of the FMLA are met. A work-related injury, just like any other physical condition that necessitates time off, could be an FMLA-qualifying event. If your organization is covered by the FMLA, meaning that you have employed 50 or more employees for 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, you will need to determine if the employee is eligible for FMLA. In order to be eligible, the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before leave begins, and have been employed by you for at least 12 months. Then, the question is whether the injury meets the definition of a serious health condition, which requires either: (1) an overnight stay in the hospital; (2) three consecutive days of incapacity followed by medical treatment; (3) pregnancy-related medical care; (4) incapacity or treatment for a chronic condition; or (5) incapacity or treatment for a long-term or permanent health condition. You can require the employee to have a doctor certify that the health condition qualifies under the FMLA. Once you’ve determined whether the FMLA applies, ensure that you’re applying your medical benefits correctly and check to see whether your state has a medical leave law that runs concurrently with or separately from workers’ comp injuries.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.