The Difference Between Workers’ Comp and FMLA in Arkansas

Taking a substantial amount of time away from work whether it was caused by a serious injury or an exigent circumstance is difficult for any person. You may have several concerns with taking time away from work, like whether you will still receive income or whether your job is secure. That is why it is important to know how programs like Workers’ Compensation and the Family and Medical Leave Act work in Arkansas. If you or a family member need assistance determining whether you should file for workers’ comp or medical leave, you should consult with an experienced Fayetteville AR workers’ comp lawyer today. Diligent workers’ comp lawyer Ken Kieklak can help you evaluate your situation and help you decide whether applying for medical leave or Workers’ Compensation is best for you. The Kieklak Law Firm explains the difference between workers’ comp and the Family and Medical Leave Act in Arkansas.

How Workers’ Compensation and FMLA Work

While Workers’ Compensation and FMLA are used to provide an employee with a reasonable amount of time away from work, each program serves a different purpose. Workers’ comp is primarily used when an employee is injured on the job. Alternatively, the FMLA is used by employees that may need time away from work due to a family-related matter. Our firm is here to help you determine what option is best for your purposes.

When to File for Workers’ Comp

As mentioned, employees file for Workers’ Compensation when they have suffered a work-related injury. For example, if you are a construction worker and you fall off a section of unstable scaffolding, this can be used to file for workers’ comp. You can also qualify for Workers’ Compensation if you aggravated a pre-existing condition while working.

It is not enough that you were injured while simply being at work, the injury must have been caused by work-related activity. It is also important to note that a denial of workers’ comp benefits will occur if you intentionally caused the accident that injured you. This also applies to workers that are working while intoxicated or drugged.

To apply for Workers’ Compensation, you must provide your employer with a detailed written account of how and when your injury occurred and the type of injury you sustained. It is important that you notify your employer about your injury as soon as possible, waiting too long to file your claim can affect whether your claim is accepted or denied.

Your employer should then report the accident to the company’s insurance carrier. The employer may then select a physician to evaluate the extent of your injuries. If it is determined that your injuries will keep you from working, you should begin to receive workers’ comp benefits. If your claim was denied, you should speak with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer that can help you file an appeal.

How to Qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act

The primary difference between Workers’ Compensation and the FMLA is that an employee that takes family or medical leave is not paid when they are on leave. Another important distinction is that an employee can only utilize family or medical leave if they are employed by the State of Arkansas for a certain amount of time. Specifically, the state employee must have worked for the state for at least 12 months and must also have worked for 1,250 hours in a 12-month period prior to going on leave.

An employee that is eligible for leave can use up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a calendar year. Additionally, while an employee on leave is not paid, they can still receive health insurance coverage from their employer on par with the coverage they had while working.

The FMLA permits an employee to take leave for one of the following reasons:

  • The birth of a child or time needed to care for a newborn child
  • The employee recently adopted a child and needed time to bond with that child
  • The employee needs to care for their spouse, a child, or a parent that is in bad health
  • A serious health condition prevents the employee from working

This is not an exhaustive list. There are other circumstances that may allow an employee to take leave. For example, the employee may need to spend time with a family member that will be deployed on a military operation.

It is important to note that FMLA rules are different for spouses who are both employed by the state. For example, both state-employed spouses would only be eligible for a total of 12 weeks of leave if they must care for a child or family member.

Work with an Experienced Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

If you or a family member needs to file Workers’ Compensation or medical leave, you should contact an experienced Arkansas Workers’ Compensation attorney today. The Kieklak Law Firm understands the stress and complexity involved with filing for workers’ comp or medical leave, and we are here to help alleviate the process. Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer Ken Kieklak possesses over a decade of legal experience handling a wide range of Workers’ Compensation issues, and he is prepared to use that knowledge to represent you. To schedule a free legal consultation, call the Kieklak Law Firm at (479) 316-0438.