Burr & Forman

12.9.2020   |   Articles / Publications

“Employee Leave and Accommodations as COVID Cases Spike,” Business Alabama

With the employee leave requirements related to COVID-19 mandated by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) set to expire at the end of the year, Matthew Scully and Gabriell Jeffreys authored an article for Business Alabama exploring options for employers with employees who need further leave in 2020 and into 2021. Employees who have already used the Emergency Family and Medical Leave and/or Emergency Paid Sick Leave provided under the FFCRA, as well as those who need leave in 2021 after FFCRA expires, may have other options under the law.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) could allow additional leave if the employee is still experiencing the effects of COVID-19 or caring for a  family member with the virus if the employee meets eligibility requirements and the case of COVID-19 is severe enough to qualify as a serious health condition. Paid sick leave under the FFCRA’s Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) is a type of leave under the FMLA, so those days should be subtracted from an employee’s total FMLA allotment.

Once an employee exhausts paid sick leave, the employee could still be entitled to leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified individuals with a disability. Employees whose disabilities that put them at greater risk from the virus or with preexisting mental health conditions (e.g. anxiety) may potentially seek additional leave as an accommodation. Employers should work with the employees to determine if an accommodation is needed or if there are other options to enable the employee to perform the essential job functions.

For the full article and detailed considerations for employers facing leave and accommodation challenges, please click here.

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