Q. One of our managers has medical problems (she qualifies for the ADA and is in an age-protected class) and has used a significant amount of sick pay. Because we don't have a defined sick pay policy, this manager is paid sick time whenever she's out (full day or half day). How can we legally cap this? Is the development of a policy with specific hours our only alternative? —F.E., Georgia
A. Contrary to popular belief, there is no legal requirement that an employer provide paid sick leave. If you do provide paid leave, there should be a written policy capping it. The fact that your company hasn't implemented a policy doesn't mean that your employees are entitled to an unlimited amount of paid leave. In this case, you should “draw a line in the sand” and disallow additional paid sick leave.
Both federal courts and the EEOC have disagreed on whether the ADA's reasonable accommodation requirement really means that an employee may take an indefinite unpaid leave. However, it's clear that employees aren't entitled to unlimited use of paid sick leave.
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