What if my employer uses my FMLA?

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that pertains to certain employers and allows for unpaid leave for employees who meet specific conditions. The FMLA and Nevada workers compensation are not mutually exclusive. The benefits available under both of these programs are often used together by the employing entity when an employee must miss work due to an approved work injury or illness. While losing these benefits for a work-related injury may mean there is no leave left for another approved situation, it is a way for an injured worker to maintain employment and job security while out of work for such an injury.

About the Family and Medical Leave Act

The FMLA is a federal law that was enacted in 1993 to offer job protection and unpaid leave benefits for certain family or medical issues. This law affects all public agencies, schools, and those employing entities that hire 50 or more employees in one location or in multiple locations that are within 75 miles. In order to be eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act, an employee must have worked for the company for at least 12 months and must have completed at least 1,250 hours of employment with the employer during that past 12 months. Under 29 U.S.C.A. Section 2601, only serious medical conditions or injuries are covered through the Act. These serious conditions are those that prevent an employee from performing their job duties and those that require continued care by a medical professional. Under the FMLA, employees are allowed 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a covered situation as well as the continuation of any health benefits that are available through the employing entity.

The Family Medical Leave Act and My Nevada Workers Compensation Claim

The Family and Medical Leave Act also cover many work-related injuries or illnesses that are covered by Nevada workers compensation. Because of this, an employer has the right to require that the employee use part or all of the 12-week unpaid leave available under the Act while losing time off work due to an approved injury or illness covered by Nevada workers compensation. In order to do so, the employing entity must have the injured worker complete the appropriate paperwork. If an employee refuses to fill out the necessary paperwork to use part or all of the 12 weeks of unpaid leave, the employer is not obligated to hold the employee’s job due to time off work from the work-related injury. While it may not seem fair that the employing entity can use these benefits for an injury that occurred while performing job duties, it can actually benefit the employee as his or her job must be held for the 12 weeks in accordance with the Act. Once the 12 weeks of unpaid leave have been used, the employer is no longer obligated to hold on to the employee’s position. However, the employer may offer light duty work or may extend the unpaid leave, but is not required to do so.

Termination while on FMLA and Workers Compensation

If the unpaid job leave under the Act is used while off work for an approved work-related injury, the employer must hold the employee’s position for the 12 weeks of covered unpaid leave. If the employee is still unable to perform the required job duties after the 12-week period, an employer may choose to terminate the employee. In this case, Nevada law allows for the continuation of workers compensation benefits to the employee. If a permanent partial disability is granted, the employee will be eligible for vocational rehabilitation if the employer does not offer a permanent light duty job.

FMLA Legal Assistance

The Morris/Anderson Law Firm can provide assistance to injured employees regarding the Family Medical Leave Act and workers compensation benefits in Nevada. The professional attorneys at Morris/Anderson can help you to understand your rights and responsibilities during time off work due to your injuries. If you have any questions or concerns on how the FMLA and your workers compensation benefits may affect each other, contact the attorneys for a consultation in your situation.

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