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Expanded Definitions

People Conditions Leave Types

The FMLA provides up to twelve workweeks of leave in a calendar year for the following reasons:

  • An employee’s own serious health condition;
  • The serious health condition of the employee’s child, spouse or parent;
  • The birth of a child; or
  • Bonding with the employee’s newborn, newly adopted child, or a child newly placed in the employee’s foster care. Leave taken for this purpose must be completed within a year of the birth or placement in the adoptive or foster home.

FMLA “People” Definitions

Includes foster, legal ward, step, or other child under the age of 18 (unless the adult child is incapable of “self-care” because of a mental or physical handicap) for whom the employee stands in place of a parent.
Immediate Family Member
For the purposes of the FMLA, immediate family member is defined as the spouse, child, or parent of the employee.
Next of Kin Relatives
Nearest blood relative other than spouse, parents, or children, when the injury is incurred in the line of duty, including siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins.
The biological, adoptive, foster or stepparent of an employee or an individual who stands or stood in loco parentis to an employee when he or she was a child.
A husband or wife as defined or recognized under State law for purposes of marriage in the State where the employee resides, including common law marriage in States where it is recognized.
Health Care Provider
includes doctor of medicine or osteopathy, podiatrist, dentist, clinical psychologist, optometrist, chiropractor, nurse practitioner, nurse-midwife, Christian Science practitioner, clinical social worker, and health care providers from whom the employer or the employer’s group health care plan will accept certification of a serious health condition, and any health care provider meeting the preceding definition authorized to practice in another country.

FMLA “Condition” Definitions

Reasons for leave
Serious health condition, pregnancy, adoption/foster care, military caregiver, military exigency.
Qualifying Exigencies
May include short notice deployments (seven days or less), attending certain military events, arranging for childcare or attending school meetings, addressing certain financial and legal affairs, attending certain counseling sessions, attending post-deployment reintegration briefings, rest and recuperation (up to five days), and other events rising out of active duty or call to duty.
Serious Health Condition
Defined as an injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential care facility or a continuing regimen of treatment by a health care provider.

FMLA “Leave” Types

Continuing Treatment by a Health Care Provider
A period of incapacity (inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities due to a serious health condition) of more than three consecutive calendar days, involving:

  1. Treatment two or more times by a health care provider, or treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion that results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the health care provider’s supervision;
  2. Pregnancy or prenatal care qualifies even if an employee does not receive treatment and even if the care does not last three days;
  3. A chronic serious health condition, defined as one that requires periodic visits for treatment by a health care provider, continues over an extended period of time, and may cause episodic rather than continuous incapacity (e.g., asthma, severe morning sickness).
  4. A permanent or long-term condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, severe stroke, terminal stages of a disease).
  5. An absence to receive multiple treatments by a health care provider either for restorative surgery after an accident or injury or for a condition that likely would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days in the absence of medical treatment (e.g., cancer, severe arthritis).

In addition to these five broad categories, the FMLA regulations also include in the definition of “continuing treatment by a health care provider” allergies or mental illness resulting from stress, but only if they meet all of the other criteria of a serious illness, and substance abuse, but only if the employee is taking leave for treatment by a health care provider.

Continuous leave
An employee is absent for more than 3 consecutive days and has ongoing medical treatment.
Duration of leave
Date the leave begins and the return to work date; Office visits and healthcare provider’s appointments for intermittent leave.
Intermittent leave
An employee takes leave in periodic increments of time; hourly, daily, and/or weekly increments.
Reduced schedule leave
An employee continues to work, but the employee’s regular work schedule is reduced to a certain number of hours per day, week, and/or month.