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CAN I COLLECT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS WHILE ON FMLA LEAVE?

June 26, 2012

by Danielle Schroder

Generally no, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits if you take medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act and you cannot work.

Specifically, Wis. Stat. § 108.04(1)(b)1 states that an employee is ineligible for benefits for any week that:

1. The employee’s employment is suspended "due to the employee’s unavailability for work or inability to perform suitable work otherwise available with the employer," or

2. The employee is on a leave of absence while he or she is “unable to work or unavailable for work."

Thus, if you initiate FMLA leave and you are unable to work in any capacity, you are ineligible for benefits.

If, on the other hand, you have certain restrictions, but your employer forces you to take medical leave despite your ability and willingness to work, then you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. See Ferdon v. JMS Converters Inc., Hearing No. 04404220AP (LIRC July 8, 2005). Additionally, if you are able and available to work in other positions, you may be eligible.

Eligibility for unemployment benefits is fact-specific. If you have been denied unemployment compensation and would like representation at your appeal of that determination or have questions about FMLA leave, please contact an employment attorney at Hawks Quindel, S.C.

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