FMLA and Your Car Crash Concussion

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By: Bill Henry
PublishedJul 16, 2020
3 minute read

Concussions are as unique as the person who sustains them. That means recovery will be different for everyone. For some, it will take longer, and getting well may require extended time off from work. That’s where the Family and Medical Leave Actmay benefit you if you’ve suffered a car crash concussion.

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Understanding FMLA

So, first of all, what is FMLA? Family and Medical Leave Act. It’s a federal program, federal statute, and all it is is job protection, okay.

Job Protection for 12 Weeks 

So it does not provide that an employer has to pay you income, there are no income benefits, it is only job protection, and it only lasts for 12 weeks. If you can’t return to work after those 12 weeks, under some circumstances, your employer can let you go.

Are You Eligible for FMLA?

So, first of all, you have to determine whether or not you are a covered employee and whether or not your employer is a covered employer under this act.

A Covered Employee

So a covered employee means that you have to have worked for your employer for at least 12 months and you have to have accrued 1250 hours over those last 12 months, so that’s about 25 hours per week on average.

A Covered Employer

A covered employer is an employer that has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. So if you’re a covered employee and your employer is a covered employer, then the FMLA applies to you.

FLMA Benefits

How You Can Use Your Time Off

So what is it? It is 12 weeks of consecutive or intermittent leave. So that means, obviously, 12 weeks of consecutive leave, or I have had several clients who have needed to have a part-time return to work schedule or have needed to have one or two days a week off for either a procedure or a treatment, and those days and those hours can add up to 12 weeks of leave.

Time off Requirements

Now, you have requirements and your employer has requirements. So you are required to have your leave certified by a doctor, and this can be required up to every 30 days from your employer.

So you have to have a serious health condition, and a serious health condition is defined as an illness, injury or impairment or a physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment. So it can’t just be because you don’t feel well enough to return to work.

It has to be certified by a physician, and you have to have ongoing continuing treatment. Your healthcare provider, in order to certify your FMLA leave, must provide, quote, “Information sufficient to establish “that the employee cannot perform “the essential functions of the employee’s job.”

And again, FMLA is for your protection if you can’t work or if you are a family member taking care of a loved one who cannot, who needs you to take care of them.

How You Obtain FMLA

Okay, so how to do this? You need to go to HR as soon as possible, and this is for your protection. So call your HR, call your manager, call your supervisor, find out the procedures are for applying for FMLA. If you have an employee handbook, if you have online access to employment documents, take a look at those.

Employer Restrictions & Rights

Now I mentioned you have your requirements, but the employer also has their requirements, so, or, restrictions.

An employer cannot interfere with your right to pursue your rights under the FMLA. An employer cannot discriminate against you for seeking benefits, or for pursuing your rights under the FMLA. And when you return from leave, the employer has to return you into the same or equivalent position.

So those are the requirements for the employer, but the employer can require a fitness for duty certification before you return to work. That’s a reasonable request.

When You’re Job is No Longer Protected

If you are unable to return to work after those 12 weeks, you have, you may have other options and you may not, so you, your job, legally, is no longer protected. However, you have the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, which I’ll talk about in my next video, but that is not an absolute right.

So again, FMLA, a federal law. If you are a covered employee working for a covered employer, you have up to 12 weeks, consecutive or intermittent, leave, unpaid, that protects your job and make sure, ensures that you have something to return to when you can recover.

This is a lot of information, so I actually have an article about this. If you would like more information or to address, if I can address any questions raised because of this video, please let me know.

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