Court: No ‘double-dipping’ between FMLA leave and unemployment benefits

Here’s some good news for Texas employers: A Texas appeals court has ruled that an employee who was off on unpaid FMLA leave was not also eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.

Had the court ruled the other way, chances are more employees would be taking longer FMLA leaves because they would also end up receiving wage replacement payments from the unemployment compensation system. That could quickly have added up to more expense for employers since they are required to hold positions open and continue to provide health insurance coverage.

Recent case: Julia worked for Wichita County. When she began to experience depression and anxiety, she asked for FMLA leave so she could undergo treatment and recover. Her request was approved.

The county continued her health insurance benefits and continued to pay her while she still had accrued sick and personal leave available.

After Julia ran out of paid leave, she applied for unemployment. Her unemployment compensation benefits application was initially approved on the basis that because she was not being paid while on FMLA leave, she was “considered unemployed”


The employer protested and the case worked its way up to the Court of Appeals of Texas.

Luckily for Texas employers, the court rejected Julia’s “considered unemployed” argument and denied her benefits. (Texas Workforce Commission v. Wichita County, No. 02-15-00215, Court of Appeals of Texas, 2016)