WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today unveiled a new online tool to help employees and employers understand the medical and disability leave to which employees may be entitled to manage medical conditions and disabilities.
The launch of the Medical-and Disability-Related Leave Advisor culminates National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a national campaign held in October to mark the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities and to educate employers about how to effectively recruit and retain these workers. Effective stay-at-work and return-to-work initiatives for employees who experience unexpected illness or disability are among the options for employers.
The new tool asks users a few questions, such as type of business or organization, workforce size and if the entity receives federal financial assistance; with that information, the advisor quickly directs users to federal employment laws that apply and provides additional information.
These laws include the Family and Medical Leave Act which provides eligible employees of covered employers up to 12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period for certain reasons, among them the employee’s own serious health condition; and the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability nondiscrimination laws, under which leave may be considered a reasonable accommodation.
“We know that employers want to support their employees, especially when unexpected illness or injury occurs,” said Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for Disability Employment Policy. “The new Medical-and Disability-Related Leave Advisor helps employers understand the intersection between different laws – including the FMLA and ADA – that may impact a worker’s right to leave.”
The leave advisor is one of a series of Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses Advisors the department provides to help employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws. Together, the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, Wage and Hour Division and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy developed the new tool.