What Happens to Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits if You Lose Your Job?
You may think that because you were injured on the job and at home recovering, your employer cannot fire you or fill your position with someone new. Although it is true your employer cannot fire you legally as retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim; they can let you go for other reasons as the normal course of business.
What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
All employers in Florida who have four or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. (Construction industry everyone from employee #1 must be covered.) The policy provides medical and lost wage benefits if an employee is injured while on the job. Statutes in every State govern workers’ compensation and how it works. These laws are determined at the state level, so what may be true in Florida may not be in another state.
Florida Law Regarding WC Benefits
According to Florida law, if you are injured on the job and cannot return to work in the same capacity, your employer is not obligated to keep your job waiting for you. They can, however, provide a light-duty job, but they do not have to. They are well within their rights to terminate your employment unless it is retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. They do not have the legal right to fire you because they are angry that they must pay workers’ compensation claims.
Often a company will terminate employment because they need to continue business operations. Your firing could be related to an irrelevant event such as corporate layoffs. Regardless, you shouldn’t have to worry about your workers’ compensation benefits even if you are let go.
Will I Continue to Receive Benefits if I am Fired?
If you lose your job while recovering from a workplace injury, you will continue to receive your benefits until you reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI). If you return to work in another capacity (light duty), your benefits may be adjusted to accommodate for the pay you are then receiving. You would continue to receive benefits for as long as they are legally payable.
Where to Turn for Help
If you were injured on the job and have concerns about losing your job or believe you were fired unlawfully, contact Barry Stein for help. We offer free consultations and can help you get what you deserve.