Does Your Health Condition Qualify You for FMLA Leave? – Labor and Employment Legal Blogs Posted by Michael Patrick Murphy, Jr.

Not All Health Conditions Qualify

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants qualifying employees a certain number of unpaid, job-protected days off—either to deal with a medical condition of your own, or to care for a family member with a medical condition.

There are a number of qualifying factors that may make you eligible or ineligible for FMLA leave. These include how long you’ve worked for your current employer, how many hours you’ve worked, and whether your employer qualifies.

Your health condition—or your family member’s condition—also has to qualify. Luckily, the rules on which health conditions qualify are fairly broad.

What Health Conditions Qualify for FMLA Leave?

The FMLA doesn’t specify which health conditions qualify. It can be a chronic or acute illness, an injury, or a mental health condition. Qualifying factors include, but are not limited to the following:

• You’ve been admitted overnight to a healthcare facility due to your health condition. In fact, any overnight stay automatically makes you FMLA-eligible.

• You have a chronic condition that requires ongoing doctor’s appointments, and that incapacitates you periodically or on a continuous basis for at least three days at a time.

• You’re receiving ongoing treatment for a health condition, and the treatment incapacitates you for more than three consecutive days. This is often the case for serious illnesses such as cancer or kidney disease.

• You’re incapacitated due to complications of pregnancy. (Pregnancy-related complications qualify you for FMLA leave regardless of the length of incapacity).

• You have a long-term or permanent condition such as a severe stroke or dementia.

• You’re getting treatment for substance abuse issues.

Under the FMLA, you can have up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave if your health condition—or your family member’s—meets one or more of the qualifying factors above.

You can also get FMLA leave to bond with a new baby, including an adopted baby. Pregnancy, childbirth, and adoption are both common qualifying reasons for people to access FMLA leave.

What Conditions Don’t Qualify for FMLA Leave?

The FMLA specifically excludes some health issues and conditions unless they’re severe enough to incapacitate you or your family member. These include:

• Cosmetic treatments
• Common cold and flu
• Ear aches
• Routine dental or orthodontic issues
• Periodontal disease
• Headaches (except migraines)
• Stomach pains and minor ulcers

Questions About Your FMLA Leave? Talk To an Employment Attorney

Is your employer denying you FMLA leave, even though you’re fairly sure your health condition qualifies? If so, you should speak with a knowledgeable employment lawyer.

Your attorney can assess the situation, determine whether you’re being denied leave that you’re entitled to, and help you gain restitution.

We’ve helped hundreds of employees navigate FMLA leave, access the rights they’re entitled to, and hold employers accountable. We can do the same for you.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at [email protected] for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.

Janelle B. Smith

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