FMLA Leave vs. Short Term Disability

FMLA Leave vs. Short Term Disability

When employees become injured or ill, or they’re expecting a child, they may decide to take time off work. This leave of absence can be confusing for both them and their employer. The reason for this is because there are different types of off time, two of which are FMLA leave and short term disability leave. Understanding the two types, as well as when employees can use it, is essential.

What Is FMLA Leave?

FMLA stands for Family and Medical Leave Act. It was established by the federal government in order to give workers who qualify the ability to take time off for either family or medical issues. Workers are not required to buy anything, nor is FMLA leave a form of insurance. However, not every employee will be eligible for it. To qualify the worker must be eligible along with their employer. An eligible employer is one who has at least 50 employees working within a radius of 75 miles from the business. The employees must have worked for the company for a minimum of 1250 hours within the 12 months prior to taking leave.

The paperwork for FMLA is reactive, meaning that workers will not have to fill anything out until they’re ready to leave. There is no requirement for their employers to fill out advance paperwork. The key benefits of FMLA is that it can be used to care for children, spouses, or other family members that have health problems, address health problem that prevent the employee from performing their jobs, and any situation involving family military deployment.

What Is Short Term Disability?

Short term disability, unlike FMLA, is associated with private insurance. Workers must have coverage in order to make use of the benefits. Either the employer or their worker is responsible for paying for the policy. Some states where short term disability is mandatory include New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, New York and Hawaii. Employers in these places do have the option of deciding whether they prefer private or state plans, as well as whether they will pay for it completely out of pocket or split the cost with their employees.

The majority of workers will be eligible for short term disability. However, there are criteria from the insurance provider that they will need to meet. These criteria will vary, but many will involve the worker’s salary and the amount of time they’ve worked for their employer. Some plans only allow employees who work full time, while others may be open to part time workers. The paperwork for short term disability is proactive. This means that a policy application must be completed before they can take leave.

Short term disability is similar to car insurance. A driver without insurance that has been in an accident can’t turn around and apply for coverage to deal with the damages. They must have insurance beforehand, and the same is true for short term disability. A worker without a claim who wants the benefits must fill out the claims form, after which their doctor must sign it.