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What is the difference between FMLA and ADA?

Team Disclo
March 26, 2024

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are both federal laws that provide certain rights and protections to employees, but they are quite different in their scope and application.


The eligibility for the two laws differ, the FMLA applies to employers with 50 or more employees within 75 miles, and employees must have worked for the company for at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to taking leave. The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees, and it applies to all employees with a disability, regardless of how long they have worked for the company.


The FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave per year for certain qualifying reasons, including the birth or adoption of a child, caring for a family member with a serious health condition, or recovering from a serious health condition. The ADA, on the other hand, does not require employers to provide leave as an accommodation, but if an employer provides leave as an accommodation, it must be reasonable and should not impose an undue hardship on the employer.

Definition of Disability

The definition of a disability under the ADA is broader than under the FMLA. The ADA defines a disability as an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The FMLA only applies to serious health conditions that make an employee unable to perform the functions of their job.

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