After a serious accident, you may need weeks, or possibly months, in order to fully recover. As a result, you may not be able to return to your place of employment for a long time. While you may be eligible for certain medical benefits through your employer, if you fail to take certain steps after a serious accident, you could possibly lose your job.
Like all states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania both recognize “at-will” employment; in other words, your employment is considered to be “at your own will.” Consequently, except in cases involving protected classes of people or when employees exercise certain legal rights (click here for more information), an employer can terminate a worker for little or no reason at all. So, it’s essential that you take advantage of the rights and protections afforded to you under state and federal law.
FMLA – Family Medical Leave Act
Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for medical reasons. Under the terms of FMLA, you are entitled to return to your job after your leave ends. If an employer eliminates your position, they must provide you with a job with comparable pay and similar job opportunities. There are rare instances in which employers are exempt from these requirements if they can actually prove your job was slated for elimination or that a comparable job does not exist. However, these kinds of cases are the exception and not the rule.
Filing for Medical Leave With Your Employer After an Accident
After your injury, you should contact your employer and begin the process of filing for FMLA.
The federal FMLA and the State NJFLA offer covered employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical related reasons. While both laws provide substantially equivalent coverage, there are some differences that have been taken into consideration below.
Employees are eligible if they have worked for a covered employer, with at least 50 employees, for at least one year and for at least 1,000 hours over the previous 12 months.
- a company with at least 50 employees for 20 or more weeks either this or last year; or
- a governmental agency; or
- a school.
Reasons for Taking Leave
Unpaid leave must be granted for any of the following reasons:
- to care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
- to care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition, or;
- for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job.
Pennsylvania employers must comply with the FMLA if they have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year.
Employees may take FMLA leave if:
- they have worked for the company for at least a year
- they worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year, and
- they work at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Employees in Pennsylvania may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for a serious health condition, bonding with a new child, or qualifying exigencies. This leave renews every 12 months, as long as the employee continues to meet the eligibility requirements set out above.
Contact Attorney Michael J. Dennin
Michael J. Dennin’s law office is a close nit practice that provides a human touch and personal experience for their clients. We treat clients as family, and treat them in the same manner as we do our own relatives. We are dedicated to protecting accident victims, and their families, and have been doing so for over 37 years. When you have been hurt on the job, you have a right to seek benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. The process, however, can be complex, confusing and intimidating. Even when you have a clear right to benefits, your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier may engage in unnecessary delays or even deny your claim. An experienced lawyer can minimize the difficulties you face.
I offer a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment, please fill out our online intake form, or call 856-665-5709. Mr. Dennin can also be reached via cell at 856-577-9138, and email at [email protected] or [email protected]