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Have you struggled with leave management as it relates to Family Medical Leave (FMLA) intertwining with ADA (Americans with Disability Act)? It’s complicated, and every employee’s situation is different. A recent Supreme Court decision should shed some light and clarity for you.

On April 2, 2018 the Supreme Court’s decision to decline to review a 7th Circuit (7th Circuit covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin) decision regarding ADA not requiring employers to allow workers with a disability to be off work for two months confirms employees are not protected by the law in these situations.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s order, employees who merely need time away from work (not an accommodation made to their job, workspace, hours, etc.) will not be covered under ADA. The question remains is how much time (less than multimonth) is allowed? That depends on the employer, but will vary with company size and the employee’s position. For instance, a key employee at a small employer may be seen as more vital and need replaced before a month, while a larger employer may have individuals who can cover for a key employee needing one month to “recover” from a disability.

FMLA and ADA can still go hand and hand, but employers need to be cautious in approving additional leave time once FMLA is exhausted (after 12 weeks). Follow your policies consistently and document your conversations and steps taken along the way. If you need assistance in navigating leave management, please reach out to Purple Ink or me directly at laura@purpleinkllc.com.

A SHRM article discussing this order can be found here:
Multimonth ADA leave isn’t Required in the 7th Circuit

Laura North
Laura North
Laura is an HR Consultant at Purple Ink. She thrives for all levels of employees to understand and truly utilize their benefits to the fullest potential.

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