It can be difficult understanding the differences between a Short-Term Disability (STD) plan and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
If you’re injured on the job, you need to know what each will mean to you and your family.
Think of the FMLA as a job-security policy.
As long as your employer maintains a complement of 50 employees or more, every U.S. worker has the right to these benefits.
Employees who are injured on the job, have given birth, have adopted a child, or who are caring for a family member who is disabled are guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid – that being the keyword – leave from the job. You can return to your original job without penalty.
Those 12 weeks can be used all at once or over the course of a year, and verified medical information is required.
Bear in mind that you can only use FMLA if you have been employed with a company for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during that time. Some employers may require that you give 30 days’ notice.
If you’re concerned about not having a paycheck coming in and need to be paid for your time off due to an injury, STD is your friend. You can receive STD benefits from your company insurance, or you can purchase a separate private policy.
STD is not a federal requirement, but it may be something you need, especially if you work at a high-risk job. Depending on the type of plan you purchase, STD will reimburse you for the partial or full amount of income lost due to your time off.
However this won’t apply when you’re looking after a family member, as FMLA may. It also doesn’t guarantee your job.
The best advice is to invest in a sound STD policy, but know when the FMLA can complement or replace it.