Workers’
compensation is an insurance program purchased by employers to cover
work-related injuries or illnesses their employees sustain. Qualified employees
receive “no-fault” coverage for injuries or illnesses that result from their
job, in exchange for the implied agreement not to bring a personal injury
lawsuit against your employer. Each state oversees its own workers’ comp
program, and in Mississippi, it is administered by the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Most
employees in Mississippi are covered by workers’ compensation, with some
notable exceptions. Employers with fewer than five employees are not required
to carry coverage, and coverage is not required for independent contractors,
volunteers, domestic employees, and employees of religious, cultural,
charitable, and other non-profit organizations. Workers compensation provides
coverage for an employee’s medical expenses, a percentage of their lost wages,
and coverage for a permanent disability.

Sick
or injured workers in Mississippi may also qualify for time off under the
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA is a federal program that allows
eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month
period for a qualifying event. Qualifying events under the FMLA include:

  • The
    birth of a child and/or to care for a newborn child;
  • Placement
    of an adopted or foster child with the employee and/or to care for a newly
    placed child;
  • To
    care for the spouse, child, or parent of the employee who has a serious health
    condition;
  • For
    the employee to deal with a serious health condition of their own that makes
    them unable to perform their work.

The
last event – an employee developing a serious health condition that renders
them unable to work – is one that may make them eligible for both workers’ comp
and FMLA.

Differences
Between Workers’ Compensation and FMLA

Aside
from the fact that workers’ comp is a state-administered program and FMLA is a
federal law, there are some significant differences between the two programs.
Unlike workers’ comp, which provides for medical costs and income replacement
for covered employees, leave provided under the FMLA is unpaid. Although an
employer can choose to provide paid leave for an event covered by the FMLA,
this is not a requirement under the law. So, employees receive no financial
reimbursement for the time they miss from work when they use FMLA leave.

There
are a couple other key differences between the FMLA and workers’ comp:

  • Employees
    can take FMLA leave regardless of whether or not the serious health condition
    for which they are taking leave was work-related;
  • FMLA
    protects the employee’s job while they are out on leave, and at the end of the
    leave, the employee must be allowed to return to his/her job or an equivalent.

No
such job protection is assured if an employee misses work due to a workers’
comp-related injury. Your employer is not allowed to terminate you because you
were injured on the job, or in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation
claim. But this is where the protection ends. 
Employees have no assurance that their employer will not lay them off,
eliminate their position, or otherwise terminate them while they are out of work
due to an on-the-job injury that is covered by workers’ comp.

When FMLA and
Workers’ Compensation Overlap

An
employee may very well suffer an illness or injury that qualifies as both
“work-related” for the purposes of receiving workers’ comp benefits as well as
a “serious health condition” for the purposes of taking leave under the FMLA.
When this is the case, the two programs can run concurrently. In other words,
an employee can receive workers’ compensation benefits and be out on FMLA leave
at the same time. Employers are generally allowed to count the time an employee
takes off while receiving workers’ comp benefits as FMLA, as long as the
employee’s condition qualifies for both programs, and the employer informs the
employee in writing that they are using FMLA leave.

Have Further Questions
about Workers’ Compensation in Mississippi?
Call Reeves and Mestayer Today 

While
most Mississippi employers are required to provide workers’ compensation
insurance for their employees, filing a claim is a complex and confusing
process, and employers often put up unnecessary roadblocks to frustrate
eligible employees into giving up. At the Reeves & Mestayer, we are
committed to helping workers in Mississippi recover the benefits they are
entitled to when they suffer a work-related injury or illness.

Call
our office today at 228-374-5151 for a free consultation. You may also send us
a message through our online contact form or stop by our office in person at
your convenience.

The post Workers’ Compensation and FMLA in Mississippi appeared first on Reeves & Mestayer | Personal Injury Attorneys in Biloxi.

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