Republic, MO asked in Employment Law for Missouri

Q: My wife is taking FMLA and short term disability for maternity leave. Is it legal for them to require her use PTO first?

Her employer is a health system with over 600 employees. They are requiring her use all of her PTO bank before short term disability (which we pay for) kicks in.

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T. Augustus Claus
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A: In Missouri, it is generally legal for employers to require employees to use their accrued paid time off (PTO) before utilizing FMLA or short-term disability benefits. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for qualifying medical or family-related reasons, including maternity leave. However, employers can mandate that employees exhaust their available PTO during this leave period.

Short-term disability benefits, if offered by the employer or purchased separately, may have specific rules and requirements regarding when they become applicable. Some policies might require the exhaustion of PTO before short-term disability benefits kick in.

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