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FMLA Qualifying Reasons for Employee Leave

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2014 | FMLA

There are some things in life we can’t control. To a certain extent, our health and the health of our loved ones is among those things. While we appreciate employees who wont let any ailment slow them down, certain conditions are too serious to cast aside. When those conditions cause employees to miss work, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to excuse that absence depending on the circumstances.

If you don’t believe your employee’s reason should qualify for FMLA protection, you should contact an employment law attorney who can help you make sure your hunch is correct, and your business is in compliance with the Act.

As you can probably imagine, an employee may not evoke the Act’s protections for any old cough or cold. The Act instead only protects medical leave taken for “qualifying reasons.” Some of these qualifying reasons are:

  • If a serious health or medical condition makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job.
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition.
  • Child Birth, and to bond with the newborn child within one year of birth
  • Certain military caregiver leave, if the servicemember is the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin.

Though this is not a complete list, it highlights the fact that the Act protects leave only when it relates to serious health conditions. If one of the qualifying reasons applies, however, an employer is not allowed to deny FMLA rights, to discharge, or to discriminate against any person involved in FMLA proceedings. In order to make sure your business is FMLA compliant, you should contact an employment law attorney before denying any such leave.