This month we have been discussing the ADA and leaves of absences, how to identify the need for either of these protections, and understand what protections apply to your organization and your employees. We know that in situations in which an employee sustains and injury or illness that a job-protected leave of absence or period of disability may apply. A common question is how do you know which applies? Do they overlap? Do they run concurrently? Does the employee get one or the other?
For many employers who do not meet the eligibility requirements for state or federal job-protected leaves (primarily falling under 50 employees), the ADA and disabilities are going to be the predominant reason for a personal, medical leave of absence. As this is the case, it is important for you to be familiar with ADA/disability regulations, understand how they apply to you, know what you can and cannot ask, and be confident with handling situations in which a disability is present.
What qualifies an individual? Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers “qualified employees with disabilities.” A qualified individual can be further defined as: an individual who satisfies the skills, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position sought or held, and can perform the primary job tasks of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation.
The term “disability” can be further defined as: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
A common scenario in which the ADA and a job-protected leave of absence may overlap is in situation in which an employee has exhausted their 12 weeks of job-protected leave but requires additional time off (or a reasonable accommodation upon their return to work). If an employee’s condition constitutes a disability, the law may require additional time off or reasonable accommodations provided to the employee after the expiration of their leave.
Navigating the many areas of state and federal leaves of absence and the ADA can be tricky. HRCentral can provide you with the expertise and guidance your organization needs to ensure compliance with all areas of leave administration, saving your company valuable time and resources. Contact us today!