employer demanding i use sick/vacation time

Four days ago, I was injured on the job. I immediately handed in a personal
injury report and also sent in the paperwork from the hospital that night. I was
just seen by an occupational health facility and they determined that I will be
out for at least two more weeks, at which time I will get evaluated again and
they will determine if I am fit to return. They also sent me to a chiropractor.
My employer is stating I need to use all my sick and vacation time prior to
recieving workers comp.

Asked on December 29, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You do not have to use sick or vacation time before worker's compensation: worker's comp is compensation for an on-the-job injury and is separate and distinct from whether you can take time off from work or how you legally take time off. You can get worker's comp with or without using sick and vacation time.
That said, there is no inherent right to miss work due to injuries, even on the job injury. You can only miss work if you use paid time off (sick & vacation days) or if your company is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which means it has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius, you are eligible for FMLA leave (you worked there at least 1 year; worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months), and you choose to use FMLA, in which case you can get up  to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. That's it: if you miss work without using PTO or FMLA, you may be terminated, so in that regard, they can demand you use you sick and vacation days. 

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