Tue, 26 Sep 2023

Let's face it; it can be pretty stressful if you're an employee with a short-term disability. You don't want to let your employer down, but at the same time, you need to make sure that your health is taken care of. If you work in the United States, you have a 1 in 20 chance of being out of work on a short-term disability each year.

In this blog post, you will find recovery and dealing tips for employees facing short-term disabilities, like when they have surgery or need to recover from an illness.

Work With Your Employer

First and foremost, you should talk with your boss. You may not be able to work at all during your recovery period, or you might only be able to work part-time. In either case, you and your employer need to have an open dialogue about what accommodations will be necessary for this situation.

You'll need time off from work to get medical treatment and recover from your illness or injury. Your employer may allow this time off without pay or salary continuance benefits (if applicable) but ask anyway. The worst thing that could happen is that they say no, but it's worth asking anyway because there are always exceptions and special circumstances in which people can receive additional sick leave days from their employers.

Depending on how much damage has been done and how long the recovery process takes, it might be possible for someone else in the office, like a coworker, to pitch in with some of the tasks they normally take care of while they're still here at work every day. However, if anyone isn't available, someone else will need help with those same tasks before leaving early due to illness/injury too often over time.

Get Short-Term Disability Insurance

Short-term disability insurance is a must-have for anyone who may need to be out of work for an extended period due to an illness or injury. It can help you pay your bills and maintain financial stability while you cannot work. Unfortunately, many people don't realize how vital this type of coverage is until they actually need it. Millions of working adults in the United States don't have disability insurance. The sad part is that many of these adults can't even pay an unexpected $400 bill. In such a scenario, short-term disability insurance becomes vital.

If you don't have short-term disability insurance through your employer, several options are available for purchasing it. You can look for a local insurer who can understand all the local rules and regulations and compensate you accordingly. For example, the Senate Labor Committee recently approved a bill that increases the compensation of New Jersey (NJ) employees on disability leave from 70% to 85%.

If you would get insurance from a company outside NJ, the insurer might deny giving you the increased compensation benefit or say that the company was unaware of it. However, if you get insurance from a local insurer for facing a short-term disability in NJ, you will get all the benefits given by the state.

If neither private nor state coverage works out as planned, consider working with a third-party administrator (TPA) that specializes in administering group plans. This usually involves paying into an association fund that offers coverage if one becomes disabled while employed by a participating organization.

Learn About State Laws

The state laws vary, but many are more generous than the federal law. In some states, employees can take up to 12 weeks off with pay; in others, they can take as long as 26 weeks off. Additionally, employees in some states may be able to use their sick or vacation days for short-term disabilities. There ar​​e five states with a mandate for disability insurance requirements. These five states include:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island

You can check the specific details of each state on their official websites.

Get Informed About the Family and Medical Leave Act

Of course, getting what you need is not always easy. If your employer is giving you a hard time taking time off to care for yourself or family members, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can be helpful.

Under this federal law, you can get up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually to provide caregiving services for an immediate family member with a severe medical condition or personal medical issue. The term "serious health condition" includes chronic illnesses, mental health issues, pregnancy and childbirth complications, organ transplants, and genetic defects, among many others.

The FMLA applies only if your company has 50 or more employees within 75 miles of your workplace. And if at least 40% of those employees work in that same location where you work (for example, multiple offices within 75 miles of each other).

Discuss the Possibility of Doing Work From Home

If you can work from home, your employer will be happy to let you do so. In fact, working from home and remote work has now become a norm. A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics surveyed over 82,000 employers. According to the report, 34% of employers started expanding remote work options due to the pandemic. However, 60% of these organizations want to continue giving the remote-work option even after Covid-19.

While working from home is an option, only do it if you can. If not, then take the time off that you need. If neither of these options is viable for reasons beyond your control and your boss is unwilling to accommodate them anyway, try working from home as best as possible.

Final Words

You may face a temporary disability lasting longer than expected, but don't let it get you down. Many resources are available to help you get back on your feet quickly. Your employer may have a temporary disability policy in place, so it's essential to review it with your human resources department. If you don't get the answers you need, talk to an attorney who specializes in workers' compensation law.

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