Do I have to take FMLA when on workers comp?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Do I have to take FMLA when on workers comp?

I had an injury at work and being out of work for a week. I was told by my employer that I am covered by workers comp but that I also have to apply for FMLA. Is that a regular procedure? Why do have to apply for FMLA? What will happen if don’t apply for FMLA? Can I be fired if don’t apply for FMLA even though I am covered under workers comp?

Asked on August 16, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Worker's Comp and FMLA are different things, with different purposes. Worker's Comp provides compenation for work-related injuries, medical care, or lost wages--but it does not excuse absences; it only provides compensation. On the other hand FMLA gives you up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave--so it excuses up to 12 weeks of absences--for medical care, injury, rehabilitation, etc. (assuming both you and your company are covered, which you evidently are); it does not, however, provide compensation. So you get money from Worker's Comp and you get your absences excused through FMLA. If you are missing more work than you can cover with paid time off (e.g. vacation or sick days you earned, assuming you have these), then yes, you would need to use FMLA despite receiving compensation from Worker's Comp.

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