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In The Know: Leave as an Accommodation

Cover of Leave as an AccommodationDid you know that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employee with a disability can request the use of accrued paid leave or the use of unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation? Tracie DeFreitas, M.S., says that this is the case in her article for the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) titled “Accommodation and Compliance Series: Leave as an Accommodation.” She stipulates that this reasonable accommodation can only be requested if the employee with a disability uses the leave to address issues related to their disability.

DeFreitas lists some examples of why an employee with a disability may request the use of accrued paid leave or additional unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation. For example, an employee may request additional leave in order to have their wheelchair repaired. The employer does not have to provide the leave if another accommodation would allow the employee with a disability to address the issue and/or if the accommodation would cause an undue burden on the employer.

DeFreitas advises employers to utilize other government regulations, such as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), before they grant the leave under the ADA. She gives this advice because those other laws and regulations are more widely understood than the stipulations under the ADA. This article includes additional resources for people who wish to look further into this topic.

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In the Know is a bi-weekly feature on the LEAD Center blog that highlights important resources and information about the employment, policy and economic advancement of people with disabilities.

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