Serious Health Conditions Under FMLA
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Serious Health Conditions Under FMLA

Workers can take time off to make sure a serious inllness or injury goes away. Americans can not assume their health conditon is serious, but it takes only little care from a health care professional for them to know that they have a serious health conditon covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Americans can take 12 weeks leave when they have a serious health condition they have to take time off work to heal or a relative has a serious health condition and needs care from their working family member. But, not everyone agrees on what a serious health condition is.

The Department of Labor in 2008 defined three serious health conditions.

Unable to Work or Live

Americans with a serious health condition have to give up work or part of their life, at least for a time. They are unable to either work or live their full lives as they usually do. A worker will need more time to heal their own illness or injury or help an ill or injured relative heal. The unhealthy person that needs care has to stay unable to work or unable to live normally for at least three days. The Labor Department calls this three days incapacity.

Work absences are a necessity for an American covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) not just a choice.

The unhealthy person that had to slow down also has to get health treatment from a health care professional. Three kinds of care are counted as care for a serious health condition.

Returns to See A Doctor

Visits to see a doctor to get health treatment prove a health condition is serious. The second visit proves to the Labor Department the conditon is a serious one covered by FMLA. The visits have to happen within 30 days after the unhealthy person was first unable to live their full life and work. The first visit has to happen during the first 7 days. Officials will not doubt a person that has to go back the second time to see a doctor has a serious health condition.

Undergoing Treatment

Continuing treatment can stop an unhealthy American from being able to live and work until they get healthy again. The patient has to undergo a regimen of treatment. The first visit to a health care professional to get care or the treatment has to happen during the first 7 days.

Treatment for A Chronic Health Condition

Making a chronic health condition worse is a trouble Americans do not have to experience. They can get treatment for the chronic condition during periodic visits. That means 2 or more visits a year to see a health care professional. Employers may not ask that the person with a chronic illness or injury get more frequent care before their worker can take FMLA leave.

Too Much of a Burden to Work

An illness or injury that stops a worker from being able to work is serious. A relative that needs a worker's help to heal from an illness or injury and return to a normal life has a health condition serious enough. An American worker can ask for FMLA leave.


U. S. Department of Labor, Final Rule on Family and Medical Leave: Providing Military family Leave and Update to the Regulations (2008).

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