One of our long-time staff members is going to be out of work for 4 weeks due to a medical problem. In Ohio, is he entitled to disability pay under any state or federal law?
Regrettably, no. For short-term disability, such as cancer treatment, heart attack, or auto accident, neither the federal government nor Ohio has a law to guarantee income. For disability through the federal government, a person is required to be disabled for 5 months or more before becoming eligible for Social Security.
To date, only California, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Hawaii — and Puerto Rico — have laws for short term disability. New York, New Jersey and Hawaii’s plans last for up to 26 weeks, providing workers with 50%, 66% and 58% of their salaries, respectively. Rhode Island’s plan is 30 weeks with 60% of salary, and varies the payout according the number of the employee’s dependents. California pays 55% of salary up to $728 per week, for 52 weeks.
In Rhode Island, money for the short-term disability is provided via the workers through payroll deductions. Elsewhere the employers are mandated by the state to automatically cover all employees for short term disability.
For your situation, there are a couple of other options. First, check with your employer. Many companies provide short-term disability as an add-on (for extra cost) to medical insurance. Some employers offer short term disability after all available vacation and sick leaves is used up. Talk with the company’s insurance carrier, particularly the person who handles employee benefits. They should be able to explain what, if any, options you have for the employee.
Second, worker’s compensation may be an option. If the injury occurred on the job, worker’s compensation may be able to provide medical benefits and disability pay.
Third, FMLA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, may apply. If a doctor can certify that he is unable to go to work because he have a “serious medical condition”, he could be eligible for FMLA. For those eligible, the Family and Medical Leave act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. JH
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