Thinking About Family Leave

Posted July 22, 2016 by Mary McGinley

When it comes to the matter of family leave for any reason it’s hard to strike a balance for what is considered fair toward employees and what may place an undue hardship on the operations of a business.

Some companies have in place specific amounts of time that an employee can take medical leave under FMLA and still are able to guarantee that employee will have a job when they return and when it constitutes discrimination in the eyes of the law.

Do such hard policies fall into line with what the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act?

According to a recently published report by the EEOC, “Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the answer is likely to be, probably not.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits the use of a hard cap on leaves of absence by an employee without also considering modifications or extensions as reasonable accommodations and considers such restrictions to be unlawful.

In the report by the EEOC it states, “The prevalence of employer policies that deny or unlawfully restrict the use of leave as a reasonable accommodation,” which the agency believes “serve as systemic barriers to the employment of workers with disabilities.”

While many businesses struggle to find that balance between what is fair and what the company needs are, the EEOC is trying to ensure that employers consider each situation in which an employee takes a leave of absence and consider those leaves on its own merits on a case by case basis.

It can be a situation fraught with potential hazards and while an open-ended leave creates an undue hardship for any business, it’s important to strike that elusive balance. blogger John Hyman recommends what he refers to as an “A-E-I-O-You” approach to employee medical leaves:

  • Avoid leave policies that set down a maximum amount of leave.
  • Engage in the interactive process with an employee to find out the reasons and expected duration of the leave.
  • Involve your employment counsel to help decide when an extended leave becomes an undue hardship.
  • Open your workplace to employees with disabilities.
  • You should document all costs associated with any extended unpaid leaves in case you need to argue for undue hardship if an employee on leave were to bring a discrimination case against the company

Knowing the law and knowing what to do when it comes to the sensitive topic of employee medical and other types of leaves can be a potential minefield for those unfamiliar with the law. At EinsteinHR, we know the law and can help you and your company become compliant when it comes to employee leaves in accordance with ADA and EEOC guidelines.

Our human resource professionals will work with you and your company with all of your human resource needs.  We can help you find the best fit for your company by assisting you in finding the right candidate for the right job offers a wide range of ways in order to attract, hire and retain top talent for your organization that is both advantageous to your staff and to your company.

In working with our Alliance Partner, we can assist your organization in finding the best fit.  Contact us today to find out how and get a quote.  You can reach us toll-free at 770-962-1700 (EMC2).