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Family and Medical Leave

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee;
  • for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
  • to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

Spouses employed by the same employer are jointly entitled to a combined total of 12 work-weeks of family leave for the birth and care of the newborn child, for placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and to care for a parent who has a serious health condition.

Leave for birth and care, or placement for adoption or foster care must conclude within 12 months of the birth or placement.

Under some circumstances, employees may take family and medical leave in blocks of time, or by reducing their normal weekly or daily work schedule.

  • If family and medical leave is for birth and care or placement for adoption or foster care, use of intermittent leave is subject to the employer's approval.
  • Family and medical leave's may be taken in blocks at a time or whenever medically necessary to care for a seriously ill family member, or because the employee is seriously ill and unable to work.

Also, subject to certain conditions, employees or employers may choose to use accrued paid leave to cover some or all of the FMLA leave.

"Serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either:

  • any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical-care facility, and any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care; or
  • Continuing treatment by a health care provider which includes any period of incapacity (i.e., inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities) due to:

(1) A health condition (including treatment therefore, or recovery therefore) lasting more than three consecutive days, and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition, that also includes:

  • treatment two or more times by or under the supervision of a health care provider; or
  • one treatment by a health care provider with a continuing regimen of treatment; or

(2) Pregnancy or prenatal care. A visit to the health care provider is not necessary for each absence; or

(3) A chronic serious health condition which continues over an extended period of time, requires periodic visits to a health care provider, and may involve occasional episodes of incapacity (e.g., asthma, diabetes). A visit to a health care provider is not necessary for each absence; or

(4) A permanent or long-term condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g., Alzheimer's, a severe stroke, terminal cancer). Only supervision by a health care provider is required, rather than active treatment; or

(5) Any absences to receive multiple treatments for restorative surgery or for a condition which would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three days if not treated (e.g., chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer).

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