FMLA and Parental Leave
What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees up to 12 work weeks of leave a year due to:
- Employee’s Own Serious Health Condition
- Need to Care for an Immediate Family Member (spouse, child, parent) with a Serious Health Condition
- Parental leave for purposes of birth or adoption of a child
The FMLA also provides certain military family leave entitlements. Eligible employees may take FMLA leave for specified reasons related to certain military deployments of their family members.
Additionally, FMLA requires group health benefits to be maintained during the leave. Employees are also entitled to return to their same or an equivalent job at the end of their FMLA leave.
Information regarding COVID-19 and the Family Medical Leave Act can be found here. It is a helpful resource that provides different scenarios relating to COVID-19.
Please note that leave taken by an employee for the purpose of avoiding exposure to COVID-19 is not protected under the FMLA. The FMLA protects employees who are unable to work because they are incapacitated by a serious health condition.
Who is Eligible for FMLA?
In order to be eligible to take leave under the FMLA, an employee must (1) work for a covered employer, and (2) work 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave.
What is considered a serious health condition?
For purposes of FMLA, "serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider.
- Incapacity means the inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities due to a serious health condition (or treatment for or recovery from a serious health condition).
- Treatment includes (but is not limited to) examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition.
- Inpatient care means an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care.
- Continuing treatment by a health care provider includes several distinct definitions and can include conditions with short-term, chronic, long-term or permanent periods of incapacity. A regimen of continuing treatment includes, for example, a course of prescription medication (e.g., an antibiotic) or therapy requiring special equipment to resolve or alleviate the health condition (e.g., oxygen). A regimen of continuing treatment that includes the taking of over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, antihistamines, or salves; or bed-rest, drinking fluids, exercise, and other similar activities that can be initiated without a visit to a health care provider, is not, by itself, sufficient to constitute a regimen of continuing treatment for purposes of FMLA leave.
Can my employer make me get a second opinion?
An employer may require a second or third medical opinion (at the employer’s expense) if he or she has reason to doubt the validity of the medical certification.
Is FMLA paid leave?
An employee may use his or her accrued sick, personal or vacation time to receive pay during and FMLA leave, or may choose to take the leave unpaid. The leave will be unpaid if an employee has exhausted his/her accrued sick, personal or vacation time.