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Difference Between FMLA and ADA

FMLA vs ADA

“FMLA” stands for “Family and Medical Leave Act.” In 1993, it was signed into law. This law was specifically created to deal with the changing responsibilities of workers towards their families. “ADA” stands for “Americans with Disabilities Act.” This law focuses on people with disabilities who have problems in performing normal, daily activities. The main difference between them is the leave needed for one’s self and a leave for their families.

The difference between the two laws depends upon whether the leave is being requested for an employee who is experiencing a certain condition himself or a leave for a family member or spouse experiencing some medical condition.

FMLA can be applied by any employee who works for a company with more than 50 employees. Twelve weeks of medical leave can be applied for if the employee has worked for 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours. The total time is 12 weeks which cannot be extended. It applies if 50 employees are within 75 miles of the work site. In the ADA, the medical leave can be applied for only for oneself and not if a child or spouse or any other family member requires attention. There is no particular time period specified for this type of leave. The ADA can be applied for by an employee of a company with more than 15 employees and has no geographical requirements for coverage.

The FMLA leave can be applied for in case of serious health situations which include: injury, illness, impairment, mental or physical condition requiring continuous treatment or inpatient care by some health provider. Hospitalization or outpatient surgery qualifies for FMLA not a cold or the flu. ADA leave can be applied for a physical or medical impairment which limits substantially some major life activity. Non-chronic and temporary impairments do not qualify for disability leave.

In procedures for reinstatement, under the ADA, the employer has to reinstate the former employee to his/her original position unless the employer can show that keeping that position open will cause an undue hardship. If not reinstated to the original position, the employer has to reassign the employee to a vacant position whether he/she is the best candidate for that position or not. In FMLA, the employee is reinstated to his/her original or equivalent position. If the employee cannot perform the duties well, then they can be terminated.

FMLA requires the employee to provide the employer with a written certification for the need for leave by a healthcare provider to verify the need. ADA prohibits the employer from inquiring about the severity of the disability. It forbids any kind of medical examination unless the disability is related to the job.

Summary:

1.FMLA can be applied for by an employee for his own medical condition or for attending to a family member with a medical condition; ADA can be applied for by an employee only for his own medical condition.
2.FMLA can be applied for by an employee of a company with more than 50 employees and has geographical limitations; ADA can be applied for by an employee of a company with more than 15 employees and has no geographical limitations.
3.FMLA cannot exceed 12 weeks; ADA has no time limitations.
4.FMLA requires the employer to reinstate the employee after the leave to his/her original or equivalent position. If the employee is now unable to do the job, he/she can be terminated; ADA requires the employer to reinstate the employee to his/her original position if vacant or to some other position where he/she might not be the best candidate.
4.FMLA allows employers to get a written certification validating the reason for leave from a healthcare provider; ADA prohibits the employer from investigating or validating the reason for leave.


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