W^H? The Holmes Murphy Blog

  • Summer Reading List for Those Who Manage Workers’ Compensation Claims

    Now that summer has officially arrived, we hope you’ll find time for reading and relaxation during the long, lazy days of sunny weather. And if part of your job is managing workers’ compensation claims, some hot-off-the-press publications are ready to peruse while you sip lemonade (or your drink of choice) in the shade!

    During April 2016, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division released The Employer’s Guide to The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It’s a 76-page guide, so get comfy as you read!

    If, as an organization, you’re covered by the FMLA and one of your employees is off work due to a workers’ compensation injury, do you know if they’re also eligible for FMLA leave? To help summarize the guide, FMLA leave may run concurrently with workers’ compensation lost time if the employee has a serious health condition and is otherwise eligible. It’s worth noting that although workers’ compensation benefits may be impacted (depending on the benefit state), if an employee refuses to accept a modified duty job offer, FMLA does not require your injured employee to accept the position. When you occasionally have an employee who declines the modified employment offer, please note that their refusal doesn’t preclude the continuation of FMLA-protected leave.

    Not to be outdone by the Wage and Hour Division, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidelines in May 2016 titled Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) stating they continue to receive charges indicating that some employers may be unaware of their positions on leave and the ADA.

    It’s a page-turner, but in short, the guideline includes a section on maximum leave policies indicating that “100 percent healed” or “able to return to work without restriction” do not necessarily apply to employees who have a disability as defined by the ADA. You might need to amend your policy by engaging in the interactive process and determine if additional leave is a reasonable accommodation without causing undue hardship. Most employees who are injured at work receive a brief course of medical treatment and quickly return to their customary job, but are you considering whether or not employees who are off work for an extended period are disabled pursuant to the ADA?

    We encourage you to have a basic understanding of the workers’ compensation laws for the states in which you operate and be able to recognize the potential for FMLA and/or ADA as part of your preparation to manage workers’ compensation claims.

    If you need a CliffsNotes version of the guides, we’ve got that by way of a webinar! We just recently held one titled, “Workers’ Compensation Alphabet Soup Webinar — How do the FMLA and ADA Affect WC Claim Management?” We encourage you to listen in.

    And, if you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to comment below or reach out to us. We’re here to help you in any way that we can!

    Published on: 06.27.16

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