Leave Policy/Compliance

ADA vs. FMLA: A Training Tool to End Supervisor Confusion

With millions of employees about to request leave to meet caregiver obligations, supervisors need to understand the Family and Medical Leave Act and how it relates to the ADA. The solution lies in the tool you use to train them.

Since it arrived after World War II, the Baby Boom generation has rocked American society, both with its numbers and with its power to change things. It’s about to happen again.

As Boomers reach their aging years, a growing number will require care from their children … many of whom are your employees. According to the National Alliance for Caregivers, some 44 million Americans now care for an aging relative, 29 million employed. And just 2 years from now, says the U.S. Department of Labor, 54 percent of the workforce will be involved in caring for an older person.

What’s that going to mean to business? More requests for leave, often under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

That makes it crucial that you train your front-line supervisors on leave issues. Who’s eligible? Under what qualifying conditions? And what are employee and employer rights in both granting (or denying) leave and in returning employees to work?

One complexity in providing such training is the existence of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Supervisors Often Confuse the Laws

Because both FMLA and ADA concern medical issues and leave, supervisors may see them as essentially the same. You know that’s not true. And you know there are substantial penalties for denying worker rights under either law, even if that denial is the result of a misunderstanding. How do you train supervisors in how the laws are different?

The answer lies in one of the best programs we’ve seen on the subject. It’s the FMLA/ADA Training Presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint.

The key to the program’s effectiveness is the format. It’s a set of sequential slides, with new content activated each time the operator clicks the left-hand mouse button. For each part of the topic, the screen first shows the answer under the ADA, then right next to it, the answer under FMLA. For the question on what size companies are covered, for example, the ADA answer shows that in most cases, it’s 15 employees. The FMLA answer, right beside it, shows 50. The same pattern is followed throughout the presentation.

Some of the topics covered:

–Employer obligations under FMLA and ADA
–What qualifying events trigger coverage
–Eligibility for leave and how it differs under ADA and FMLA
–Allowable pre-employment inquiries
–Medical certification and when and how to ask for it
–How to deal with substance abuse and abusers
–Light duty … when it’s required, when not
–Benefits during leave. When they must be continued, and when not.
–Rights of employees returning to the job, and how they differ under the two laws –Termination (another potential lawsuit-maker)
–Retaliation and why it must never be allowed to happen

The final slides in the set offer a series of common situations, including reinstatement, employer requests for medical exams, and requirement to continue benefits, looked at in light of the two laws. In this section, expert advice is given on which law to apply and which “trumps” the other.

Customized to Fit Your State Law and Specific Company Policy

Because many states have weighed in on leave, the slides have been made customizable so you can insert local differences or specific company policies or situations. Detailed speaker’s notes, a document guide that links to appropriate federal statutes, regulations, forms, and fact sheets, and a reproducible Certificate of Training complete the presentation.

Because training on leave issues is so critical now, and the need for it will grow so fast in coming years, we suggest you evaluate this program in your own office and at no risk. You may find it exactly the training tool you need.

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To start your no-risk trial of FMLA/ADA Training Presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint, click here.


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