COVID-19 and What It’s Doing to Disability Compliance

Managing Leave During a Pandemic
September 26, 2021
Managing Reasonable Accommodations for Employees Who Are Significantly Disabled
November 23, 2021

COVID-19 and What It’s Doing to Disability Compliance

Preparing for an Increase in Accommodation Requests

By Rachel Shaw

@Work Magazine, July 2021

HR Practitioners were struggling with the level of ADA accommodation requests pre-COVID.  Then, through the pandemic, two things were introduced to U.S. workers which will likely contribute to a continued rise in this difficult workload.  First, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) told hundreds of millions of Americans they have a disability through its “high risk” list; and second, the CDC linked this list to an often preferred accommodation – working from home. Now, many employers are trying to return employees to the physical workplace and roll back hybrid or full work-from-home assignments, and requests for ADA accommodations are on the rise. For better or worse, the CDC’s guidance during the pandemic took a number of your employees – who never before though of themselves as having a disability or entitled to workplace accommodations – and made them aware of the potential of the ADA in providing, not just reasonable accommodations, but for some desirable work-from-home accommodations.

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With so many legitimate reasons for leave, and a push from public health officials to support leave for fear COVID-19 would spread more in workplaces, your hands were tied. As we move forward with workforces returning to the physical workplace, what should a leave management program look like?

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