ADA - time off

For some reason I am struggling with ADA and time off as a possible reasonable accomodation. I read through some of the other posts on ADA and reasonable accomodation and have the same thought someone else wrote ... If FMLA requires you to provide a 12 week leave with reinstatement and you do this as required, does that not indicate that you can also reasonably accomodate at least a 12 week absence if due to an ADA situation? In the current situtation the person has not been here long enough to be eligible for FMLA but has a possible ADA qualifying condition (getting verification paperwork from doctor). Attendance is an essential function of the work because it is specialized mechanical work that individuals typically go through an intensive one on one training for 12 weeks before they can work on their own ... but how does one argue undue hardship when you make leave work for FMLA situations?

My 2nd question involves use of available unpaid personal time under our attendance policy. We allow EEs a certain number of personal hours off per year and this EE still has well over 1/2 of the hours left to use. If EE misses due to ADA condition, do we apply it to and use all personal time first and then look at additional time or is time missed under ADA not counted toward attendance as in FMLA?

Any thoughts on this would be helpful.


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  • With regard to your first question, I do not think you can argue undue hardship in this situation. That is just a gut reaction on my part. I think the real question is whether the requested accommodation will enable the employee to return to work and perform the essential functions of the job. If it will, then I think you have to provide the leave.

    With regard to your second question, I would suggest that you need to draw a clear distinction between "personal time" and "attendance policy." If it is an attendance policy, do not call it personal time. That makes it sound like an employee benefit as opposed to a disciplinary policy. If you are talking about counting the time off as an absence under an attendance policy, then I would say don't do that. If you are asking whether you can require the employee to use accrued personal leave during their ADA leave, then I am not sure of the answer. You can require that under the FMLA, and I am not aware of anything stating that you can't do it under the ADA.
  • Thank you for your thoughts on this. It always helps me to see how someone else views the situation.
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