Ask HR: Family Medical Leave Act

April 13, 2017

15 13 04 915 oh ymca tab image contact us

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law requiring covered employers to provide employees with job-protected and unpaid leave for specified medical and family reasons. But if an employee's FMLA time has run out and they are unable to return to work, what happens? Fortunately, the pros at HR Support Center receive questions like these every day. Here's what you should know.

Q: What happens if an employee’s FMLA time has run out, but they say they’re not able to return to work?

A: Even if an employee has exhausted their FMLA leave for the year, their condition may fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, a disabled employee is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, performing manual tasks, and working. If the employee’s condition is covered by the ADA, they would be entitled to continued job protection while on a leave of absence, so long as their leave did not create an undue hardship for the company.

If the employee contacts you about needing an extension of the leave, you should engage in the ADA interactive process to determine if their condition makes them eligible for ADA leave and how much additional time they would need before returning. As part of the interactive process, you may request medical documentation supporting an accommodation request. You can then look at whether the additional leave is something you can grant without it causing an undue hardship. Be aware, however, that “undue hardship” is a high bar to pass.

You could also choose to offer additional leave to an employee even if their condition did not require coverage under the ADA (employers occasionally want to do this with top performers). But keep in mind that doing this would set a precedent for future requests, so it should be carefully considered.

This content is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

The HR professionals at HR Support Center are only a phone call away. Organizations like yours can utilize Paycor's HR Support Center to help prevent compliance mistakes, and you'll receive awesome subscription perks like these:

  • Legal advice
  • Employee handbook help (creating a new one or updating an existing one)
  • Custom HR forms, letters, tools, and other documents
  • Tons of Q&A
  • News on government activity that could affect you
  • Training on common HR activities like hiring
  • Thought leadership articles

The list goes on. HR Support Center is not only feature rich, it’s inexpensive: one entire year of HR Support Center is more cost effective than one hour of a typical attorney’s time. Contact us today to speak to a Paycor consultant about the benefits of HR Support Center.

Previous Article
Stand Out from the Pack: Tips to Help Your Small Business Thrive
Stand Out from the Pack: Tips to Help Your Small Business Thrive

Life as a small business owner or entrepreneur is all at once thrilling and stressful, full of new challeng...

Next Article
6 Ways to Invest in Talent After the Recruiting Process
6 Ways to Invest in Talent After the Recruiting Process

There’s no question that the recruiting process requires a large investment in the talent companies are bri...



Subscribe to our weekly Resource Center Digest

Thank you! You're Now Subscribed!
Error - something went wrong!