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Family and Medical Leave Act


A serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves one of the following:

  1. Hospital Care

    • Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with or consequent to such inpatient care.
    • Inpatient care is at least one overnight stay.
    • Incapacity is inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment therefore, or recovery therefrom.

    Examples: surgery, pneumonia

  2. Absence Plus Treatment
  3. A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendars days which also involves:

    • Treatment two or more times by a health care provider, by a nurse or physician's assistant under direct supervision of a health care provider, or by a provider of health care services under orders of, or on referral by a health care provider; or
    • Treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider.Treatment includes examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition. Treatment does not include routine physical examinations, eye examinations, or dental examinations.

    Examples: physical therapy.

  4. Pregnancy

    • Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy for prenatal care
    • Includes severe morning sickness

  5. Chronic Conditions Requiring Treatments
  6. A chronic condition which:

    • Requires periodic visits for treatment by a health care provider, or by a nurse or physician's assistant under direct supervision of a health care provider
    • Continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of a single underlying condition); and
    • May cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity

    Examples: asthma, diabetes, epilepsy

  7. Permanent/Long-Term Conditions Requiring Supervision

    • A period of incapacity which is permanent or long term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The employee or family member must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a health care provider.

    Examples: Alzheimer's, severe stroke, or terminal stages of a disease

  8. Multiple Treatments (Non-Chronic Conditions)

    • Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments (including period of recover) by a health care provider either for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury; or
    • A condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment.

    Examples: chemotherapy, kidney dialysis, physical therapy for severe arthritis.

Other examples of serious health conditions which meet one of the six criteria

  • Migraines
  • Back conditions requiring extensive therapy or surgery
  • Heart conditions
  • Most types of cancers
  • Severe respiratory conditions
  • Severe arthritis
  • Severe nervous disorders
  • Injuries caused by serious accidents
  • Miscarriage
  • Complications related to pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Recovery from childbirth
  • Kidney disease

Conditions which normally do not meet one of the six criteria and are not normally considered serious health conditions*

  • Common cold
  • Flu
  • Earaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Minor ulcers
  • Headaches
  • Routine dental or orthodontic problems
  • Absence due to substance abuse
  • Stress

*These could be considered serious health conditions if the individual was incapacitated for more than three consecutive calendar days, he or she visits a health care provider during the period of incapacity, and he or she follows a regimen of care prescribed by the health care provider, such as taking an antibiotic.

Hotline Explains Family and Medical Leave Act

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a toll-free number that callers can use to get a brief explanation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and learn how to get more detailed information through the mail.

The toll-free number is: 1-800-959-FMLA