Short Term Disability At The Workplace: What Every Employee Should Know

Being temporarily unable to perform your job due to a short-term disability can be incredibly frustrating. Not only does it put you out of commission for a period of time, but it can also be difficult to know what you are entitled to when it comes to short-term disability at the workplace.

If you’re finding yourself anxious at the prospect of short-term disability, then read on below to find out exactly what it involves. 

What Is Short-Term Disability?

Short-Term Disability refers to a system put into place by a company that seeks to pay you a portion of your wages when you are affected by an injury that was caused outside of work. Short-term disability does not cover any injuries that were caused by the work itself. Such injuries are likely to be covered by workers’ compensation.

Are You Entitled To Short Term Disability?

Unfortunately not. Though many US states do require that employers include short-term disability amongst employee benefits, not all states do. States and territories that do offer short-term disability as part of their benefits include states like New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and California. However, this does not mean that many companies outside of these few states cannot include it as part of their benefits. 

How Long Does Short-Term Disability Cover?

This can differ quite massively. However, as the name suggests, it is generally a shorter period of time than someone suffering from a more serious injury may be entitled to. When you are first taken to the hospital to have your injury attended to you will likely find out exactly how long your recovery period will generally be. This will then be communicated with your employer, and they will attempt to work out an appropriate length of time to provide you with short-term disability cover.

Certain disabilities, thus, are more likely to receive more compensation. At the longest end of the scale, you should expect that short-term disability will cover around six months. This would have to be to cover a fairly severe injury that would impact your work for that length of time. For some, short-term disability has been in effect for just 30 days.

There is no set amount of time that short-term disability covers, and it is affected by the severity of the injury.

What Can Be Considered A Valid Injury For Short-Term Disability?

Once again, there is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to determining what counts as a short-term injury. However, it should most definitely include any kind of injury that seriously impacts the way that you work. If you cannot work effectively without causing more harm to yourself as you recover, then you should be able to be covered by short-term disability. 

Illnesses are also covered, provided they could be infectious to others or they cause a significant negative impact on your workflow. 

Does Poor Mental Health Qualify To Be Covered By Short-Term Disability?

This is down to the company that is providing the short-term disability cover. There is no legislation that states that companies must offer short-term disability to anyone suffering, say, from a strong case of depression. However, this does not mean that companies cannot offer the cover to anyone suffering from mental illness, and many modern companies choose to.

It is worth finding out whether your company offers short-term disability cover to those suffering from mental illnesses.

Can Maternity Leave Count Toward Short-Term Disability?

Yes. Many companies in the United States offer short-term disability cover to those on maternity leave. This helps to make it easier for many companies, as they can simply state that anyone on maternity leave is covered by short-term disability.

However, many companies also opt to cover maternity leave in an entirely separate way from how it is covered by many others. Your company may choose to give you maternity leave as its own form of coverage, or it might instead choose to list you as qualifying for short-term disability. 

Is Your Job Protected While You Are Covered By Short-Term Disability?

You can still be fired while being covered by short-term disability, and this can be incredibly unfortunate, as many companies may try to abuse this should your leave take slightly longer than expected.

Luckily, the Americans With Disabilities Act seeks to outline exactly what counts as a short-term disability, which could mean that, should you be fired, you would be within your rights to sue or counter the firing by claiming that it is unfair and targeted at your disability.

The best thing to do if you are being covered by short-term disability is to take a look at whether your particular disability is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, as, if so, you will be able to rightfully complain should you find yourself unfairly fired from your job.

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