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Playing doctor: What’s a ‘serious’ condition under FMLA?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Since 1993, employees have been able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their own "serious health condition" or to tend to a child, spouse or parent with a serious condition. But figuring out whether a condition falls into that "serious" category is enough to give you a headache.

With vague language in the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and broad regulations from the Labor Department, employers and courts continue to hash out what illnesses are covered. Here's a look at the federal regulations and some of the ways they have been interpreted.

What the rules say

According to the Labor Department's regulations, a serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves one or more of the following: 

  • Continuing treatment by a health care provider. This includes being unable to work, attend school or perform regular activities for more than three c...(register to read more)

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