Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  Mental Health and Disability Leave

With World Mental Health Day right around the corner, it's important to know your rights when it comes to mental health in the workplace. Issues like burnout, social anxiety, depression and more can make it nearly impossible to be present or productive at work. If you are struggling with a mental illness, you may have rights when it comes to taking leave from your job, also known as disability leave, thanks to The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and some state laws.

Q: What is disability leave?

A: The term disability leave means to take leave from work for one of many possible reasons. Under the ADA and FMLA, disability leave is used to refer to time taken by employees dealing with a disability, such as mental illness, as a reasonable accommodation and requires treatment by a healthcare provider.

Q: Is my employer required by law to offer disability leave?

A: Only in certain situations. An employer can establish attendance and leave policies that are uniformly applied to all employees, regardless of disability, but may not refuse leave needed by an employee with a disability if other employees get such leave. An employer also may be required to make adjustments in leave policy as a reasonable accommodation for a worker with a disability. The employer is not required to provide additional paid leave, but accommodations for a disability may include leave flexibility and unpaid leave. 

Thought of the Week

"Talking about mental health in the workplace establishes open communication and a safe environment for employees to feel connected to their work and to their leaders. [It] also helps employees to reach their goals. It helps leaders begin to better understand what their employees need to be more productive."

–Jennifer Moss | Author

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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