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WHAT IF I USE ALL OF MY OHIO FMLA LEAVE?

August 4, 2016 | Posted in: Disability, FMLA

You can find out more about whether you are eligible for FMLA leave in Ohio here- http://www.thefriedmannfirm.com/am-i-eligible-for-fmla-leave-in-ohio/.

Once you are familiar with the eligibility requirements for FMLA, our Columbus Employment lawyers can help you decide what to do if you have exhuasted all 12 weeks of your FMLA leave.  For FAQ’s about FMLA leave, visit our page http://www.thefriedmannfirm.com/services/faqs.html#faq3.

First of all, employers are required to maintain your group health insurance coverage (including family coverage) during the time you are on FMLA leave.  The employer’s obligation to pay group health insurance benefits expires when and if you do not return to work after you have exhausted your 12 weeks of FMLA leave so it is important to pay attention to when your 12 week period expires.

Since your employer must restore you to your position (or an equivalent position) when you return from FMLA leave, you can always go back to work once you have exhausted your FMLA leave.  If you are not yet ready or able to return to work because of medical reasons, you have a few options.

If you are an otherwise qualified individual with a disability and need more time off, you can request it from the employer as a “reasonable accommodation.”  If the additional leave would not impose an undue hardship on the employer, the employer may grant your request.  If you request additional leave, your employer may require you to obtain more information from your medical provider, detailing the reasons for the additional leave.

If you can return to work but need a reasonable accommodation such as a flexible schedule, more breaks or the ability to administer treatments while at work, you can request an accommodation from your employer.  Make sure you clearly communicate the accommodation you want to the employer.  The employer cannot accommodate you if you do not ask it to.  If the employer can grant the accommodation without an undue hardship, you should be able to return to work with the reasonable accommodation in place.

If you cannot return to work at all yet, with or without an accommodation, another option is to apply for short term disability.  This may be a good option for someone who cannot return to work at the end of the 12 week period but expects to be able to return to work in a few weeks or months.  If your employer has a short term disability policy, request information on that program to see if you qualify.

These are just some of the options available to you if you find yourself in a situation where you have exhuasted your FMLA leave.  The most important thing to remember is to pay attention to when your 12 week period of leave expires and make sure you communicate with your employer about whether you plan to return, if you need an accommodation and whether accommodating you is possible.  Our Columbus FMLA Employment Lawyers are happy to help you navigate through this process and explore additional options than those listed here.