As a human resource manager of a large firm, after analyzing the situation of my employee’s disability or injury or illness at the workplace, according to the law, I would entitle him or her to receive medical or disability-related leave under two federal laws: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (Department of Labour, 2008). In addition to the Federal laws, a disabled or injured worker is compensated to various leave provisions that may apply according to the situation in which has suffered at the workplace.
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The ADA meaning
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a Federal law that when applied to the employee’s disability protects him without discrimination against any kind of disability. The ADA is just akin to the offspring of two federal statutes, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits any discrimination on the ground of racial, sexual and religious differences while the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals by the federal government and any program receiving or benefiting from federal financial assistance (The Record, 1999).
The employee is entitled to the benefits of ADA under circumstances that provide surety that the injury or disability work is related and is caused at the workplace. Therefore the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) after determining the seriousness of employee’s health condition and upon assuring that it meets the definition of disability need to decide if a medical certification or consultation is necessary or requested accommodation is necessary under reasonable circumstances in which, provisions of the ADA, the FMLA and Workers’ apply. Benefits include accommodations that enable employees with disabilities to stay temporarily as decided, employment fringe benefits, and privileges equivalent to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. These accommodations vary according to the severity of the disability and may include reforming job flexibility, elastic work schedules, or the provision of accessible health or recreation facilities.
At times non-cash benefits are also entitled to the employees that comprise a large part of that package offered by the employer as a non-cash portion of compensation. Among non-cash compensation include medical coverage of employee or family, dental coverage, life insurance plans, accident coverage, business travel, disability, reimbursement accounts, savings, retirement plans, stock purchase plans, paid holidays, tuition refunds, and vacation. The costliest is the medical care programs provided by an employer which are utilized by the same 10 percent of employees; therefore, employers often fear that abuse of this plan by the disabled would be reflected in the rising costs of health plans (Murray, 1993). However, no evidence suggests this to be true (Fletcher, 1992) since if benefits are to be utilized, funds are usually taken from the employee disability insurance programs that assist with base pay contributions.
There may be medical benefits that according to the medical compensation would exclude a disabled employee from fully utilizing the plan, for example, an employer who has already mentioned in his medical program that certain physical or mental conditions were not covered under the plan. It depends upon the ADA how it finds this condition to be a disability, in case it does the employer may have to go back and review the impact of ADA on an employee wellness program. If the employer plans do not include certain treatments or procedures and provide for limited amounts of mental health coverage according to the EEOC Office of Legal Counsel, ADA Division (Walworth, et al., 1993), then the employer can refuse to insure or may place limits on the amount, extent, or type of coverage, or provision for differences in rates based on physical or mental impairment (Wilhelm, 1993).
Limitation occurs as in case of alcoholism and drug addiction, injured or disabled employees are impaired under the ADA as long as it does not interfere with the individual’s job performance. Thus, it is necessary to be aware of the issues or disabilities that are considered as ‘covered or uncovered impairments’ under the ADA (Sims & Veres, 1995, p. 10).
Department of Labor, 2008, Web.
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Fletcher M. (1992). ADA could have big impact on work comp. Business Insurance.
Murray J. (1993). Suit alleges reduction of cap on benefits for AIDS violated ADA. Employee Benefit Plan Review, 48(2).
Sims R. Ronald & Veres G. John, (1995) Human Resource Management and the Americans with Disabilities Act: Quorum Books: Westport, CT.
The Record (1999), Web.
Walworth C. R., Damon L. J., & Wilder C. F. (1993) Walking a fine line: Managing the conflicting obligations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and workers’ compensation laws. Employee Relations Law Journal, 19(2), 221-232.
Wilhelm P. G. (1993). Productive employment of the handicapped: Compliance strategies for the Americans with Disabilities Act. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 58(3), 9-15.