September 21, 2016

What types of events qualify for leave under the FMLA? Part 1 of 2

Weekly HR News – FMLA

What types of events qualify for leave under the FMLA? Part 1 of 2

Last week we looked at what is FMLA and does it apply to your city.  If FMLA does apply to your city you need to understand the five events that will qualify an employee for this type of leave.  For this article I am going to focus on the three that are not military related and next week we will look at the final two. The first three qualifying events are:

  • The birth or adoption of a child.  This applies to both male and female employees as long as the child is under the age of 18 or is incapable of self-care because of a disability.  The entitlement to leave expires twelve (12) months from the date of birth or placement of the child. However, if both parents work for the same employer, they must split the twelve (12) week allotment between them.
  • The care of an immediate family member with a "serious health condition."  Family members include a child, spouse or parent.  The term "child" can include someone other than the employee's offspring if the employee stands in the place of a parent. Likewise, "parent" includes any person who stood in the place of a parent to the employee when the employee was a child.  Finally, in 2015, the Department of Labor broadened the definition of spouse under the FMLA so that eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages are able to care for their spouse regardless of where they live. More information can be found on this in the previous article entitled Changes to FMLA Effective March 27 Regarding Definition of Spouse
  • Recovery from an employee's own "serious health condition."  The employee must be unable to perform the essential functions of the job. 
    • The term "serious health condition" for purposes of FMLA is defined as any period of incapacity that involves:
      • Inpatient care; or one night in hospital;
      • Three (3) or more absences coupled with two (2) or more visits to a healthcare provider that occur within thirty (30) days of the beginning of the period of incapacity and the first visit to the healthcare provider takes place within seven (7) days of the first day of incapacity; or more than three (3) consecutive, full calendar days of incapacity plus a "regimen of continuing treatment." The new regulations clarify here also that the first visit to the healthcare provider must take place within seven (7) days of the first day of incapacity. (Example of regimen of continuing treatment would be physical therapy);
      • Pregnancy or prenatal care;
      • Chronic serious health condition requiring periodic visits (at least two (2) visits per year) to a healthcare provider;
      • A condition requiring permanent or long-term incapacity which may not be responsive to treatment and requires continued supervision of a healthcare provider; or
      • Receiving or recovering from multiple treatments for restorative surgery after an injury or for a condition likely to result in more than three (3) days incapacity without such treatments.

For additional questions regarding FMLA or other personnel related matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower, Personnel Services Specialist.