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When Sick Leave, FMLA Leave, and ADA Reasonable Accommodations Meet

Published:  October 9, 2015

The interplay among the various health-related leave laws is complicated.  A request for time off may be a request for sick leave under state law, leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), or all of the above.  For example, an employee who has run out of accrued sick leave may still be entitled to job-protected leave as a reasonable accommodation, even if his or her employer is too small to be covered by the FMLA.  Likewise, an employee who has exhausted his or her FMLA leave may nevertheless be entitled to additional leave or a reduced work schedule under the ADA.  Further, because the state sick leave law prohibits employers from requesting medical documentation for absences shorter than three consecutive work days, it may not always be possible for employers to count such leave towards an employee’s 12 weeks under the FMLA.  These examples illustrate how important it is to evaluate each request for time off carefully on a case-by-case basis.  If you have questions about the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, the FMLA, or the ADA, please contact any of the attorneys at Royal LLP at (413) 586-2288.