FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) Rights for Minnesota Injured Workers
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Under some circumstances, injured workers may be required to take or use FMLA What is FMLA? FMLA or the Family Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees of a covered employer to take job-protected, unpaid leave or a substitute appropriate paid leave if the employee has earned or accrued it for up to a total of 12 work weeks in any 12 months. If an employee’s own serious health condition makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job, he or she may be entitled to FMLA.
The United States Department of Labor and Industry has created a guide to assist employees when having to use FMLA. We would also encourage that you contact an attorney who is experienced in the area before making a decision. https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/employeeguide.pdf
Under FMLA, if you are faced with a health condition that causes you to miss work and you are eligible under the law, you may be able to take 12 weeks of job protected time off. The employer must also continue your health insurance as if you were not on leave although you may be required to continue to make normal employee contributions.
Under the law, so long as you are able to return to work before you exhaust your FMLA, you must be returned to the same job or one nearly identical to it. This is intended to reduce the stress that you may otherwise feel if forced to choose between work and family during a serious medical condition.
To take FMLA, you must provide your employer with appropriate notice. Ongoing communications between you and your employer will make the FMLA process run more smoothly. The employer may request medical certification and in some circumstances you may only have 15 days to provide it. If you fail to provide the medical certification, your FMLA maybe denied.
Under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act, if an injured worker is off of work because of a work-related disability, an employer may be at risk for penalties if, without reasonable cause, refuses to offer continued employment to its employee when employment is available within the employee’s physical limitations. Under the law, they could be liable for one year’s wages, however, this would not apply to employers who employee 15 or fewer full-time employees.
Despite these penalties, an employer is still encouraged to provide continued work as it could potentially lessen the exposure for workers’ compensation benefits.
An injured worker who is unable to return to work because of a work-related injury should discuss their case with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. We offer free no-hassle consultations where any and all questions can be asked.