Can You Use Sick or Vacation Time for Workers Comp?

Many injured workers do not take advantage of the benefits offered through the workers compensation system. They prefer to use paid sick or vacation days while they recover from a workplace injury. Instead, they should consult with an Atlanta workers comp lawyer and understand their rights and the advantages of the system.

In this article, we will cover all the key issues related to workers comp vs. paid time off (PTO) for healing from a work injury.

When It Makes Sense to Use Paid Time Off

Under Georgia workers compensation law, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits if you miss work for at least 7 days. However, you will start receiving wage replacement checks only after 21 days of missing work. If your injury is severe enough to keep you from work for more than 21 days, you will get wage replacements for the first week, as well.

If you only need to recover after a workplace injury for less than a week, you should use any available sick or vacation days, because you do not qualify for filing a workers comp claim for wage replacement benefits.

Claiming PTO and Workers Comp Benefits at the Same Time

Here is another important thing to know. Workers compensation only pays 2/3 of your weekly wages. While some workers can make do with this reduced amount for some weeks or months, others really depend on every dollar of their paycheck.

In this situation, you are perfectly within your rights to request personal time off in any form available to you: paid sick days or paid vacation time. In this situation, the PTO will supplement the gap between your regular wages and wage replacement, allowing you to pay all your bills on time and support your family.

My Boss Says that I Must Take Paid Sick Days Instead of Filing a Claim

Here is a very important aspect that an Atlanta workers comp attorney wants to clarify: taking PTO to recover from a work injury is a right, NOT an obligation. If your employer is trying to force your hand in this direction, they are breaking the law.

your boss can't force you to use PTO instead of workers comp

You should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible to resolve this matter. Do not be afraid of being fired for claiming your rights, as retaliatory termination is prohibited, as well.

And, even if your employer decides to fire you for any other unspecified reason, your workers comp claim will remain valid and you will be able to recover and start looking for a new job while receiving benefits.

Does It Make Sense to File a Claim for a Moderate Work Injury?

Since you are not getting wage replacement benefits until 21 days of missed work have passed, should you not simply claim PTO and stay on friendly terms with your employer? Many workers ask this question during their first consultation with one of our lawyers.

Here is the main reason why you should file a claim no matter what. Workers compensation offers two types of benefits:

  • Coverage of all medical care costs
  • Wage replacement

If you take paid sick or vacation time, you will get your wages, true. But you will have to pay for your medical care costs out of pocket. And, in most cases, the bulk of workers comp benefits is represented by medical bills.

Also, you cannot know for sure that you suffered a moderate injury. It may develop complications, based on your previous medical history and other circumstances. You may need expensive treatments, even surgery, to recover. At the end, you may be tens of thousands of dollars in debts – a crippling amount for the average worker.

Let a Skilled Atlanta Workers Comp Lawyer Help You Get Benefits!

If you were injured at work, you may have the right to file a workers comp claim and get benefits. The law sets specific conditions to qualify, so you should consult with a skilled Atlanta workers comp lawyer.

The attorney will examine your case and give you reliable legal advice. If you have a valid claim, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis – no fee until we win your benefits.

As a new client, you benefit from a free case review, so call us today at 470-287-5597!