Frequently Asked FMLA Questions
The Family and Medical Leave Act has always been complex and confusing. When the topic comes up, questions seem to automatically follow.
Below is a list of the frequent questions our experts get asked. If you don't see your question answered below, the Personal Assistant feature in FMLA Manager is a great resource to have in your back pocket. It's like having your very own FMLA assistant on staff!
- The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave,
- The employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months (need not be consecutive), and
- The employee must work at a location where the employer has at least 50 or more employees within 75 miles.
A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care, or continuing treatment by a health care provider.
Inpatient care is generally an overnight stay in a health care facility.
Continuing treatment is a bit more involved, however. Please note that “treatment” can include exams to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition.
A serious health condition involving continuing treatment includes the following:
- A period of incapacity of more than three, consecutive, full calendar days, and any subsequent treatment that also involves -
- Treatment two or more times within 30 days of the first day of incapacity by a health care provider, or
- Treatment at least once, resulting in a regimen of continuing treatment.
- Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care.
- Any period of incapacity (or treatment for) a chronic serious health condition requiring treatments at least twice per year and continuing over an extended period of time.
- A period of incapacity for a permanent or long term condition in which treatment may not be effective.
- Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments for restorative surgery or a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three days in the absence of treatment.
- For the birth of a son or daughter, and to bond with the newborn child;
- For the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care, and to bond with that child;
- To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent – but not a parent “in-law”) with a serious health condition;
- To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition; or
- For qualifying exigencies arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status as a member of the National Guard, Reserves, or Regular Armed Forces.
- To care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.
When it is medically necessary, employees may take family medical leave on a reduced leave schedule. When leave is needed for planned medical treatment, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operation.
Leave to care for or bond with a newborn child or for a newly placed adopted or foster child may be taken intermittently only with the employer’s approval and must conclude within 12 months after the birth or placement.
May an employer terminate an employee who cannot return to work after he or she exhausts 12 weeks of FMLA leave taken for his or her own serious health condition?
Does time off for a workers’ compensation injury always count against an employee’s FMLA leave entitlement?
May employers request a doctor’s note for every instance of intermittent FMLA leave an employee takes?