Can an employer establish specific attendance and leave policies?

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. The employer is not obligated to provide additional paid leave, but accommodations may include leave flexibility and unpaid leave.

A uniformly applied leave policy does not violate the ADA because it has a more severe effect on an individual because of his/her disability. However, if an individual with a disability requests a modification of such a policy as a reasonable accommodation, an employer may be required to provide it, unless it would impose an undue hardship.

For additional information, take a look at the following resources:

FAQ: What are my employer's obligations after I return from medical leave? (What kind of documentation can the employer ask for when I return from medical leave?)

Fact Sheet: Work-Leave, the ADA, and the FMLA