You likely rely on your regular paycheck to support yourself and your family. If you were to suddenly lose your job, you might not be able to cover the basic cost for your family, like housing, groceries and utilities.
For injured workers already dealing with medical issues and costs, pressure from their employer or the loss of their job can quickly complicate things. Whether you got hurt on your job or in an unrelated incident, such as a car crash, you have certain rights as an employee.
The right to take time off of work so that you can heal and recover from an injury is a basic worker right enshrined in both state and federal law. Sadly, some employers penalize their workers for asserting their rights or taking necessary leaves of absence.
Your employer should not punish you for needing time off of work
If you hurt your back or break a bone, you probably won’t be able to do your job completely or quickly the way you usually could. You may need time for inpatient rehabilitation treatment to help you regain control and function, or you might need weeks to recover from surgery.
While it can be difficult for a company to work around an employee’s absence, they generally have an obligation to do so as long as you intend to return to work. Provided that your employment status and your employer’s company both qualify under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), your employer should allow you to take time off to heal.
How do you know if you or your employer qualify for FMLA leave?
In order for you to receive FMLA protections, your employer has to be a certain size and you have to have worked for them for a certain amount of time. The company generally needs to have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of where you work. You as an employee will generally need to have worked for the company for at least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months.
Provided that you and your employer meet these standards, you have the right to ask for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA. You can take leave for your own convalescence after you get hurt or fall ill. You also have the right to take leave to provide care to your spouse, parents or children if they are the ones in need of medical care.
If your employer refuses your leave or penalizes you for taking it, you may need to take action against them to stand up for your rights and the rights of other employees.