Workers’ Comp and FMLA: Can You Get Both?

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More than 30,000 nonfatal workplace injuries occurred in South Carolina in 2021. Injured workers may wonder about the various laws and programs that may be available to them.

Workers’ comp and FMLA may both be options. Can you get both? Should you get both?

Bobby Jones Law explains workers’ compensation, FMLA benefits, and what you need to know.

Can You Get FMLA and Workers’ Comp at the Same Time?

An employee who is injured on the job may receive both workers’ comp and FMLA benefits.

Each program has unique qualifications. If the employee independently qualifies for each program, they may participate in both programs.

Does FMLA Run Concurrently with Workers’ Compensation in S.C.?

FMLA and workers’ compensation in South Carolina may run concurrently. A qualifying worker may receive benefits from both programs at the same time.

Should I use FMLA concurrently with workers’ compensation?

You can use FMLA concurrently with workers’ compensation if you qualify. Whether you should highly depends on the situation. Using FMLA along with workers’ compensation can protect your job.

If you’re concerned about your job being there for you when you’re ready to return to work, it may be wise to take FMLA. If you’re secure in your career, but you anticipate needing your FMLA protections later in the year, it may be wise to rely on workers’ compensation.

Can my employer require me to use FMLA if I am on workers’ compensation?

Yes. Your employer can require you to use FMLA if you are on workers’ compensation. If they do, they must provide the benefits of FMLA leave, including allowing you to return to your job.

What if my employer substitutes FMLA for workers’ comp? Can they do that?

No. Your employer cannot require you to use FMLA benefits instead of workers’ comp.

If your employer substitutes FMLA for workers’ compensation without your knowledge or agreement, they’re wrong. Contact our law offices right away.

Workers’ compensation has cleared me for light duty. Do I have to accept it? I’m also on FMLA leave.

If you don’t accept light duty, your workers’ compensation benefits will end. However, you may continue on FMLA leave.

FMLA Benefits

FMLA stands for Family Medical Leave Act. The law allows workers to take leave from their employment for qualifying reasons, including:

  • Birth of a child
  • Adoption or foster care
  • A close family member’s serious health condition
  • Their own serious health condition

Employers must comply with FMLA leave if they have 50 or more employees. The employee must have been on the job for at least one year, having worked at least 1,250 hours.

When someone qualifies for FMLA leave, they may take up to 12 weeks of leave each year. They may return to their job when their leave ends. The leave is unpaid, but group health benefits continue.

When FMLA leave is for the employee’s own serious health condition, and the health condition results from an injury at work, FMLA leave may intersect with workers’ compensation benefits.

Can an on-the-job injury qualify for FMLA leave?

Yes. An injury that occurs on the job may qualify for FMLA leave if the employee meets other criteria to take FMLA leave.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Unlike FMLA, workers’ compensation provides cash benefits if an injured employee can’t work. It covers only an employee – not family members.

Workers’ compensation doesn’t guarantee that the worker will have a job to come back to. An employer may not fire a worker for exercising their workers’ compensation benefits, but they may terminate employment for lawful reasons.

Can FMLA replace workers’ compensation in South Carolina?

Workers’ compensation does not replace FMLA laws. S.C. Code § 42-1-610 says that no rule or regulation may relieve an employer of workers’ compensation laws. In addition, § 42-1-640 says that workers’ compensation law may not relieve an employer from penalty or failure to perform any duty.

Talk to a Workers’ Comp Lawyer About FMLA Benefits

When you’re hurt at work, you need the right benefits. We invite you to contact workers’ compensation lawyer Bobby Jones. At Bobby Jones Law, we can evaluate your employer’s actions and explain what you need to consider as you determine your next steps. Contact us now to talk about your case.

The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
  • More than $60 million collected for our clients
  • Multiple recoveries exceeding $1 million, including an eight-figure settlement
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
  • Named among the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers
  • Named to Super Lawyers 2017–2024
  • Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Selected as Legal Elite of the Upstate 2021–2023
  • Named among Super Lawyers "Rising Stars"
We’re humbled to be considered one of the top firms in the Upstate and invite you to learn what sets our award-winning legal services apart. Call or request a consultation online.
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