An employee who is injured or becomes ill while working or due to the work environment has the right to file a New Jersey Workmans Comp claim. The Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA is a separate entity to workmans comp and thus can be used at the same time. Both in fact complement each other in many cases and can provide greater benefit to claimants than wokers compensation alone.
Regardless of whether or not a serious illness or condition happened while at work, an employee may be able to obtain coverage through FMLA. The law focuses on the qualifying reasons not the cause. Those that qualify can take advantage of the job protection provided by FMLA that is not necessarily granted by workers compensation.
Under the New Jersey law, there currently is nothing that prevents the employer from lowering pay to better accommodate an employee’s injury or illness. While the light duty may be a necessity, the lower pay could result in hardship to the employee.
FMLA may offer the job security not clearly defined by New Jersey Workmans Comp. Claimants may wish to look into FMLA after filing a workers compensation claim. In some cases, the claimant may be covered under both laws.