When juggling your obligations under ADAAA, workers’ compensation, and FMLA laws, how do you keep it all straight? When do your obligations under one law end and another begin? What are the differences in your obligations? In a BLR webinar titled "The New Leave Compliance: How to Master FMLA, ADA, and Workers’ Comp Overlap," Marylou V. Fabbo outlined the basics of FMLA laws and the other employment laws and explained when each apply. She also gave us guidance on their similarities and differences.
FMLA Laws and Their Competition: How Do They Compare?
Here are some basic questions (with the answers shown to provide comparisons) to help you apply these three statutory schemes:
- When does each apply? FMLA applies to eligible employees only (1,250 hours worked in the past 12 months, and at least 12 months' of employment). ADAAA applies from day one if reasonable accommodations are required. Workers’ compensation applies to any employee who is injured and is not limited by other factors.
- When does an employee get time off? The FMLA allows up to 12-weeks unpaid time off for a serious health condition. Time off may be a reasonable accommodation under the ADAAA. Workers’ compensation is a statute that provides income and other benefits.
- How do health benefits factor in? Fabbo told us in the webinar that, under FMLA, "the employer is required to continue health benefits – the employer’s share. Whatever the employer is paying when the employee is at work . . . that’s the continued ratio while the employee is out." Under ADAAA, however, there is no requirement to pay the employer’s share if the employee is on leave. For workers’ compensation, the details depend on the state you’re in, but either way, the carrier pays medical bills and for missed work.
- What are your job reinstatement obligations? Fabbo explained that "however it’s defined within these statutes, the bottom line is really somewhat the same – under the FMLA, you have to be reinstated to same or substantially similar job, with same duties, compensation, benefits, etc." The ADAAA requires that the employee must be reinstated to the exact same position. Workers’ compensation rules on reinstatement depend upon your state.
For more information on FMLA laws, ADAAA, and workers’ compensation, order the webinar recording. To register for a future webinar, visit http://catalog.blr.com/audio.
Attorney Marylou V. Fabbo is a partner with Skoler, Abbot & Presser, P.C. and heads its litigation department. She has successfully defended employers in civil actions involving many areas of employment law, including sexual harassment, discrimination, wage and hour, FMLA, breach of contract, and wrongful discharge.