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Family and Medical Leave Act: Serious Health Condition

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Serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition which requires:

  • Overnight hospitalization (including prenatal care), including the period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with the overnight care
  • Continuing treatment (for a chronic or long-term condition) under the care or supervision of a health care provider. Included under this heading are chronic conditions (e.g., asthma, epilepsy, etc.) that continue over an extended period of time and may cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity and conditions that are not usually incapacitating but would result in a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days if medical treatment were omitted (e.g., chemotherapy, kidney dialysis, pregnancy, etc.). Note that incapacity means the inability to work, attend school, or perform regular daily activities (eating, washing, walking, shopping, etc.,) because of a serious health condition or treatment for or recovery from a serious health condition.

If supported by certification of a health care provider, FMLA leave taken for a chronic serious health condition or a condition for which treatment may not be effective, may be taken as a continuous block of time. The diagnosis, prognosis, and course of treatment prescribed by the health care provider will determine the way the employee and his or her supervisor approach FMLA leave and the employee's work schedule.

Alzheimers disease; chronic back conditions; cancer; diabetes; nervous disorders; severe depression; pregnancy or its complications, including severe morning sickness and prenatal care; treatment for substance abuse, multiple sclerosis; very serious surgery and recovery; emphysema; severe arthritis; pneumonia; and severe injuries on or off the job are within the definition of "serious health condition".

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