Understanding Ohio Workers’ Comp & FMLA

If you’ve been injured or became ill on the job, you may qualify for certain benefits to protect your job and provide some much-needed financial relief as you deal with the situation.

Ohio Workers’ compensation is based on state law and concerns work-related health problems. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law and its benefits don’t depend on the cause of the medical issue. If you’re injured on the job or suffered a work-related disease, and your employer claims you must use FMLA leave before you can collect workers’ compensation benefits, contact our office because that’s not true. Call IFBYPHONE and set up a free consultation with the highly experienced workers’ comp attorneys at a Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co., LPA

Adrienne M. Hines and Victor Kademenos are Certified Specialsits in Workers’ Compensation Law, meaning we have specific training recognized by the Ohio Bar Association. Give us a call at (419) 625-7770 to set up a free consultation

What is the FMLA?

The protections and benefits of workers’ comp and FMLA are very different, depending on how you look at them. According to the federal Department of Labor, FMLA applies to

  • Covered employers, which are private employers with 50 or more employees over 20 or more workweeks in the calendar year. It could also be a public or local, state, or federal government agency, no matter the number of employees. A public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of employees, would also be a covered employer
  • Eligible employees, who work for a covered employer within 75 miles for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately before the leave

Under FMLA, eligible employees can use up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period. This time need not be taken at once, but can be broken up by the week, day or even hour. The leave can be used for a number of reasons, including caring for another.

  • The birth of a child or placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care
  • To care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition
  • For a serious health condition making the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job, or,
  • For any qualifying emergency caused by a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who is a military member on, or called to, specific types of active duty or active duty status

A serious health condition under FMLA is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that needs inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

The Difference Between Workers’ Comp and FMLA

There is no waiting period for workers’ compensation benefits, unlike the FMLA. You can collect benefits if you’re injured the first day on the job. Your injury or illness must have occurred in the course of your employment (it happened while you were working at your workplace or where you were required to be for your job) and it was caused by a job-related danger or risk.

Unlike workers’ compensation, FMLA leave is unpaid and it won’t cover your medical bills. There’s a time limit on FMLA benefits while workers’ comp could provide you benefits for a permanent disability, potentially, the rest of your life. Both laws prohibit retaliation against an employee using benefits.

How The Two Laws Interact

If your work-related injury or illness would also be considered a serious health condition under the FMLA, you work for a covered employer and you are a covered employee, your employer could apply time off under workers’ compensation toward the 12 weeks’ of time you could use under the FMLA.

However, when both laws apply, your employer must give you leave under the law that provides greater rights and benefits, workers’ compensation. Your employer can’t force you to take up to 12 weeks off, unpaid and without paying your medical bills, for a work-related injury or illness. If you’re told FMLA leave must be used before you can obtain workers’ comp benefits, you should consult with a workers’ comp lawyer to protect your rights.

How We Can Help

At Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co., LPA, we have decades of experience successfully handling workers’ compensation claims for injured Ohio workers. We approach each case with compassion and are committed to zealously representing you through every facet of the claims process.

Contact us at (419) 625-7770 for a free consultation today.