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Understanding Options for Leave When Illness or Injury Occurs

Today, smart employers recognize the value of supporting their employees, especially when illness or injury occurs that might necessitate time off. Now, a new online tool — the Medical- and Disability-Related Leave Advisor — helps clarify leave employees may be entitled to take for purposes of managing medical conditions and disabilities.

By asking a few relevant questions, this advisor quickly identifies which of several federal employment laws — each of which may provide for such leave under certain circumstances — apply to an employer and thus possibly its employees. These laws include the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides eligible employees of covered employers up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for certain reasons, among them the employee's own serious health condition, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other disability nondiscrimination laws under which leave may be considered a reasonable accommodation. 

Examples of conditions that may make a person qualified for leave under these laws range from cancer, heart disease and diabetes to mental health conditions, arthritis and recovery from surgery. In reality, every worker has a possibility of acquiring a disability, whether temporarily or permanently. By understanding available options for leave, employers can send a clear signal that they care about the health and well-being of their employees. What's more, they can help ensure employees get the care or rest they need to return to work productively.

The Medical- and Disability-Related Leave Advisor is one of a series of Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses (elaws) Advisors developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws. To view a list of all of them, visit the elaws website.

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