FMLA Effects on Other Laws

FMLA Effects on Other Laws

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has many effects on laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), workers’ comp, and other state laws that apply specifically to medical or disability leaves. FMLA may also intersect with employer sponsored leaves and policies such as short or long term disability.

When FMLA overlaps with other laws, the employer must follow the law which entitles the employee to the greater benefit. Also, if a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or your own policy provides a better benefit to the employee, then follow it as well.

Many states follow the federal FMLA almost to the T, but others may differ in the following ways:

  • Apply to smaller organizations;
  • Require you to allow more time off;
  • Cover different reasons for leave, such as domestic violence or school conferences;
  • Cover different people; or
  • Require paid leave.

Generally, leave laws that apply to the same situation can run concurrently, unless the other leave law says it is available after FMLA has been utilized.

Workers’ Compensation

State workers’ compensation laws come into effect if an employee suffers from a workplace illness or injury. It may be required that the leave run concurrently with FMLA. But should the employee’s workers’ compensation leave end first, you may be required to allow continued leave through FMLA if the employee suffers from a serious health condition.

In some states, even if the worker is still on workers’ compensation leave, the employer may terminate them if they have a sound policy of terminating employees who are unable to return to work after the end of FMLA.

Additional Requirements When Employees Take FMLA

  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – The FLSA governs minimum wage and overtime requirements for employees. In general, employers are not allowed to reduce the pay of an exempt employee for partial-day absences. Doing so may result in the employee (and possibly others in the same job category) losing the exemption and being owed for past overtime worked.
    • One big exception is that employers are allowed to make deductions from exempt employees’ salaries for hours taken as intermittent or reduced FMLA leave within a work week, without affecting the employee’s exempt status. That is true even if the employee takes FMLA leave in partial-day increments.
  • Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) – In general, COBRA continuation coverage is triggered on the last day of an employee’s FMLA leave if the employee does not return to work. It may also be triggered if, while on leave, the employee notifies the employer that they will not return to work at the end of their leave.
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) – Under HIPAA, you are required to comply with its various privacy requirements if you seek medical certification from a HIPAA-covered entity or healthcare provider.
  • Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) – ERISA prohibits employers from denying benefits to employees, which could include denying leave under your company’s leave policies to care for an elderly parent.
  • Employer’s benefits plans, CBAs – Employers are also bound by the terms of their own employee benefits plans and CBAs if they provide greater family and medical leave rights than FMLA. On the other hand, your plans, programs, and CBAs cannot diminish FMLA rights.

Source: HR Daily Advisor | Coordinating FMLA with State and Federal Laws

For more information contact The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.