Similarities and Differences Between Short-Term Disability and FMLA Leave

Short-term disability and the FMLA both offer some form of protection for employees who need to take a leave of absence from work, but each has its own considerations, terms, and requirements. The conditions for taking short-term disability are typically quite different than FMLA qualifications. For example, the FMLA requires employment for 12 months and 1,250 work hours. If the employee is eligible for FMLA leave and works for a covered employer, they can take up to 12 weeks leave.


On the other hand, employees may only have to work for as few as 90 days to be eligible for short-term disability, although that amount of time can vary from employer to employer. Also, in some cases, short-term disability can last longer than the 12 weeks provided in the FMLA — with some employers providing up to 26 weeks or more. Another significant difference between short-term disability and FMLA leave is that short-term disability generally only applies to injuries and illnesses suffered by the employee, while the FMLA permits employees to take leave to care for family members with serious medical conditions in addition to their own medical concerns.

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