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Leave under the FMLA and ADA

When New Jersey employees need to take medical leave, their employers have different requirements under the Family Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Workers should familiarize themselves with what each law requires in the event they need to take leave.

The FMLA provides that covered employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period. Both workers who suffer from their own medical condition, as well as workers who need to take time to care for a family member, are entitled to this leave if the act applies to their workplaces.

Workers are also allowed to substitute accrued paid leave for the unpaid leave they need to take. If they have paid leave for a temporary disability, the employer is allowed to count the time taken under the plan against their 12 weeks of FMLA leave. If the employee has a serious health condition and is on leave for workers' compensation, the employer is allowed to run the time concurrent with their FMLA leave. Under the ADA, no cap exists, and the amount of leave the employee can take depends on what is a reasonable accommodation for their medical condition.

A person who is fired for taking leave that should have qualified as FMLA leave or that is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA may want to talk to an employment law attorney to see what options are available. An attorney may be able to review the facts to determine if it was a wrongful termination. If it was, the first step may be to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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