Am I entitled to more leave after my 12 weeks of FMLA leave expires? The interaction between FMLA and the ADAA

Eligible employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid medical to leave to care for their own serious health condition or the serious health condition of an eligible family member. Sometimes an employee might need, say 13 weeks in order to return to work. Can an employer fire an employee who might need a little bit longer than the FMLA 12 week leave allowance to return to work?

While the particular facts are important in making a decision, an employer may be required to give an employee more leave than the 12 weeks required by the FMLA.

The reason an employer might have to give an employee more than 12 weeks of leave is it may be required by the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended (ADAA).

Under the ADAA employers are required to give disabled employees “reasonable accommodations” to help the employee do their job. Additional leave may be considered a reasonable accommodation in some situations. The ADAA requires the accommodation be weighed against the business needs of the employer. Unless the additional leave will create an “undue hardship” to the business it might be a required reasonable accommodation.

The amount of additional leave that is required will probably be the main factor in deciding whether the accommodation is “reasonable”. Something like an extra few days or a week should not be unreasonable. If the requested leave is a lot longer than the FMLA 12 weeks then an employer may be able to legally deny an employee the extra leave.

If you are on FMLA and it seems like you might need more than the 12 weeks unpaid leave then it might be worth speaking with an attorney. In Georgia contact Atlanta employment lawyer Ben Kandy.

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