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What Serious Health Conditions are Covered by FMLA?

What Serious Health Conditions are Covered by FMLA?

What Serious Health Conditions are Covered by FMLA?

Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), certain employees have the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave when they or a family member has a certain medical condition. However, this condition must be serious and minor aches and pains, such as colds, earaches, and headaches do not qualify. So, how do you know if your medical condition is serious enough? The U.S. Department of Labor has provided six different categories of conditions that qualify.

Inpatient Care

FMLA regulations define “inpatient care” as an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical facility, including any period of incapacity as defined under the Act or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care.” An employee can take job-protected leave for inpatient care, such as an overnight stay in a hospital.” However, the definition of “overnight stay” may vary. Courts have found The stay could involve being admitted to a hospital, hospice, or residential care facility. The Family and Medical Leave Act will cover all of these overnight stays. 

Incapacitation for Three Days or More

Being incapacitated means that a person can no longer perform their regular duties, such as going to school or work. This incapacitation must continue for three days or longer, and the person must require continuing treatment from a health care professional. The three days of incapacitation must be consecutive, but they do not have to be business days. The first course of treatment must happen within seven days of the first day of incapacitation.


A woman who is pregnant can take time off under FMLA for the pregnancy and related medical conditions. Employees do not have to be considered incapacitated for more than three days, and they do not even have to visit a doctor in order to qualify. Women do not have to suffer from complications with their pregnancy. Regular prenatal visits to a healthcare professional also qualify under FLMA.

Chronic Health Conditions 

Some chronic health conditions are covered under FLMA, but they must be serious. For a condition to qualify, the employee must require a minimum of two visits every year with a healthcare provider. The employee must also have to deal with the condition over an extended period of time, and cause episodes of incapacitation rather than a continuing incapacity. Asthma, epilepsy, and diabetes are a few conditions that may qualify under this category.

Long-Term Incapacity

Employees who are incapacitated for a long period of time due to a serious health condition also may qualify for FMLA, as long as they are under the regular supervision of a healthcare provider. Alzheimer’s and cancer are two conditions that could qualify for FMLA.  

Multiple Treatments 

Employees who require time off for a number of medical treatments qualify for FMLA if the treatments are related to surgery required after an injury. Conditions that would require the employee to miss three days or more of work if left untreated also may qualify under this category of FMLA. 

Need Help With FMLA Leave? Call Our Ohio Employment Attorneys 

If you need to take FMLA leave, or your employer has retaliated against you after taking leave, you should speak to one of our Columbus employment attorneys. At Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC, we can help if your employer has denied you FMLA leave, or if they have retaliated against you after taking the leave. Call us today to speak to one of our attorneys and get the help you need.

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