Short-term Disability for Orange County Firms and Individuals
– Most employees in Orange County, California are generally familiar with sick leave: a certain amount of hours available to eligible employees when they feel under the weather, have medical appointments or aren’t able to work for a few days due to a health condition. What’s less clear is what happens if a condition or situation requires additional time, such as a serious surgery or injury, or something chronic that goes beyond allocated “sick” time hours. Then it’s time to talk about disability, a mental or physical condition where you are not able to perform your job for less than a year.
Every state, including California, has different definitions of disability and disability protections, along with federal disability law. Employers can also be flexible in what benefits they offer beyond existing disability law, including creative solutions if someone uses up their hours.
Some employers in Orange County offer disability insurance as part of a benefits package, and individuals can also buy personal disability policies, similar to life or auto insurance.
Beyond this, some options include:
- Paid leave. Employers may require people in disability situations to use sick or annual leave first. When this is done, the employer may advance extra hours based on what will be earned the rest of the year.
- Unpaid leave. Many companies do allow valuable workers to remain employees but don’t pay them. This keeps them in good standing while they recover and keeps their position open. The security can be encouraging, as opposed to looking for work or seeking unemployment while recovering.
- Leave bank. Some employers can create shared systems where employees can put unused vacation or sick hours into a pool for anyone to use or for specific employees on disability. This will provides some financial security.
Workers Compensation. If the health condition requiring disability was incurred because of or during your job you might be able to receive payments to make up lost wages. Payments can begin when your other leave runs out. Eligible employees may be able to collect from their various retirement funds, based on time of service and how vested they are in a company pension or 401K. They won’t be able to return to their employer but will have more financial protection. Short-term disability law can be confusing to employees and employers, and decisions sometimes have to be made at challenging times in people’s lives. But clear communication and accurate information go a long way.