Under the federal FMLA, “Serious Health Condition” is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental
condition that involves:
Any period of incapacity or treatment related to inpatient care
(i.e., an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice,
residential facility, OR
Continuing treatment by a health care provider.
“Continuing treatment” by a health care provider includes any one or more of the following:
1) Incapacity and Treatment:
: A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive full calendar days and
any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition, that also involves:
Treatment two or more times within 30 days of the first day of incapacity, unless extenuating
circumstances exist, , 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 means an in-person visit to a health care provider. The first (or only) in-person treatment
must take place within seven (7) days of the first day of incapacity.
: Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care.
3) Chronic Conditions Requiring Treatments
: Any period of incapacity or treatment for such incapacity due
to a chronic condition which:
Requires periodic visits for treatment by a health care provider or by a nurse physician’s assistant
under direct supervision of health care provider;
Continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of a single underlying
May cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity. Examples
: asthma, diabetes,
4) Permanent/Long-term Conditions
: 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.
: Alzheimer’s, a severe stroke, or the terminal stages of a disease.
5) Multiple Treatments (Non-Chronic Conditions)
: Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments
(including any period of recovery therefrom) by a health care provider or by a provider of health care
services under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider, either for restorative surgery after an
accident or other injury, or for 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, radiation, etc.) severe arthritis (physical therapy), and kidney disease (dialysis).
Substance abuse may be a serious health condition if the conditions mentioned above are met. However, FMLA leave may only be taken for
treatment for substance abuse by a health care provider or by a provider of health care services on referral by a health care provider. On the other
hand, absence because of the employee’s use of the substance, rather than for treatment, does not qualify for FMLA leave.
Please Note: For the purposes of federal FMLA the following terms are defined to mean:
“Incapacity” – inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment therefore,
or recovery therefrom.
“Treatment” – includes examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition. It does not include
routine physical examinations, eye examinations, or dental examinations.
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. It does not include 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
“Intermittent Leave” – is leave taken in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason.
“Reduced Leave Schedule” – is leave schedule that reduces an employee’s usual number of working hours per work-week or hours per
workday. It is a change in the employee’s schedule for a period of time, normally from full-time to part-time.