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Using Sick Leave Vs. Vacation Time to Cover Workers’ Compensation

After you become injured at work, you may not have the ability to perform your vocational responsibilities due to your injury.

While you wait for your workers’ compensation case to settle, your boss may ask you to use either your sick time or vacation time to make up for days you missed as a result of your workplace accident.

Injured arm in brace carrying money

Should I Use Sick Time or Vacation Time?


Do not use either sick time or vacation time to make up for the time you missed due to a workers’ compensation case.

Sick time and vacation time should be used for exactly that – time to rest and visit the doctor when sick and days off for vacation.

An employer cannot deny you vacation due to you taking time off to care for your injury, but it happens to people all of the time, with the reason for denial being time off after an injury.

Some employers don’t realize that they can’t legally do this. Even worse, many do realize it’s illegal but deny vacation time anyway to make the numbers look good to their boss in a presentation instead of focusing on the health of employees. Don’t let this happen to you!

You do not need to use up your sick days or vacation days for the following reasons:

  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Physical therapy appointments
  • Lack of doctor-approved work you can do with your limited mobility

Related Link: Wage and Hour Rights

Interested in learning more about your rights? Read more about workers’ compensation in California on the Invictus Law website.

A band-aid

What To Do If Your Employer Denies Your Paid Time Off

Taking your paid time off (PTO) equates to stealing. You lose out on a whole day’s pay that you earned for your hard work and loyalty to the company.

If a supervisor attempts to take away your PTO due to time missed after a workplace accident, you need to stand up for yourself to get your money.

Step One: Ask for more detail from your supervisor in an email

Putting the conversation in writing will give you clear ammo in your case.

Respectfully ask for clarification about the rules and any internal documentation you can reference. Explain your point and follow up daily until you get a clear response.

Save copies of all emails.

Step Two: Talk to HR

If your manager still doesn’t want to obey the law, talk to your human resources representative.

Once again, keep as much communication in writing as possible.

If you do not have written documentation of an interaction, keep your own records that include the date, name of the person you spoke to, and the outcome of the conversation.

Step Three: Call a lawyer

Whether your work abides by their legal obligations or not, you will need legal representation.

Never agree to the first offer from your employer as a lawyer can almost definitely get you more.

Related Link: Workers’ Compensation Claim Process

Ready to stand up for yourself and take back your well-deserved vacation time? Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer at Invictus Law.

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