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Leave requirements for ADA and FMLA

California workers who are preparing to welcome a new child into the world or into their home may also be requesting an extended leave of absence from their employers under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which establishes guidelines that ensure that workers with qualified medical or family situations can take time away from work without worrying about negative repercussions. Similarly, the Americans with Disabilities Act provides reasonable accommodations that could include protected leave if the need arises. However, both employers and employees may have questions about the requirements of the law.

FMLA allows a maximum of 12 weeks of leave during a one-year period. This leave is unpaid, but an employee caring for next of kin or a family member who has suffered a major injury during active duty could obtain up to 26 weeks of leave. Caring for covered veterans in connection with FMLA also provides for up to 26 weeks' leave. FMLA leave can be counted based on a fiscal or calendar year. However, an employer might also use a running total that counts ahead or back between periods of leave.

ADA leave is not quite as clearly defined. There is not a defined maximum amount of leave, and the determination of reasonable accommodation related to leave may vary from one employee to another. There may be situations in which an employee seeks an opportunity for job-protected leave because they are unable to perform their current job. In such cases, an employer might look at other possible ways to provide an accommodation that would allow an employee to continue working.

An employee who is dealing with leave-related discrimination might try to explain their concerns to a human resources department. If the matter continues to be treated adversely, enlisting legal help might be important for addressing the company's error in applying FMLA rules.

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