FMLA Leave: What Is An Employee's Own Serious Health Condition?

An employee is able to take a FMLA leave of absence because of their own serious health condition.

What is Considered a Serious Health Condition?

An employee has a serious health condition if the employee has an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

  1. An inability to work for three or more days and is receiving ongoing treatment by a health care provider; or

  2. Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility.

An employee also has a serious health condition if the employee has a chronic health condition that requires ongoing treatment. Specifically, an employee's inability to work due to a chronic health condition will qualify as a serious health condition if the employee's condition:

  1. Requires periodic visits for treatment to a health care provider, and

  2. Continues over an extended period of time, and

  3. Causes episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity.

Examples include an employee suffering from asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy.

An employee has a serious health condition if the employee needs to be absent from work to receive multiple medical treatments, including recovery time, from a health care provider for:

  1. A surgery after an accident or other injury, or

  2. Has a condition, such as cancer, severe arthritis, or kidney disease, that requires ongoing medical treatment (i.e. chemotherapy/radiation for cancer, physical therapy for severe arthritis, dialysis for kidney disease)

What is Not Considered a Serious Health Condition?

The following conditions are typically not considered serious health conditions: common cold, flu, ear aches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, headaches other than migraines, routine dental or orthodontia problems, and periodontal disease. Additionally, an individual who undergoes cosmetic medical treatment is typically not considered to have a serious medical condition.

Note however, that if medical conditions or complications arise relating to any of the aforementioned conditions or treatments, then an employee may be considered to have a serious medical condition.

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