If your company has more than fifty employees at any location within a 75-mile radius, you know that you need to extend 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave under the FMLA. But even if you are not subject to the FMLA, or if you have already provided the full 12 weeks of leave, you may be required to extend an additional unpaid leave of absence.
Separate and apart from the FMLA, most employers are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or a state law equivalent. Under the ADA, employers must grant reasonable accommodations for serious medical conditions to allow the affected employee to return to work. Increasingly, courts are finding that an extended leave may be a reasonable accommodation if that leave will allow the employee to return and perform her essential job functions.
Caveat: open-ended, indefinite leaves without the clear prospect of a return to work are not reasonable and need not be granted.
If you need help understanding extended leave policies, call our office at (248) 477-6300.