How does FMLA address a serious health issue?

New York workers have the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide various protections and rights. One of the reasons for taking the time off accorded to workers under FMLA is if there is a serious health condition being suffered by a worker or a family member of the worker. Understanding how the law defines "serious health condition" and the medical certification that is required to prove that it was necessary and applicable to FMLA is essential when seeking to use this benefit.

An eligible serious health condition is an injury, illness, impairment or mental or physical condition that has one or more of the following: a time at which there will be incapacity or treatment as part of inpatient care at a facility; incapacity that will last for more than three calendar days from work, school or other activities that requires treatment and supervision of a health care professional; a period in which the person must be inactive because of pregnancy or providing prenatal care; a time of inactivity because of a serious health issue; a time period that is permanent or of an extended period because of the treatment that might not be effective; missing work because of treatments after a referral by a health care professional that might lead to incapacity of more than three straight days if it there is no treatment.

The medical certification might be needed. The employer is required to give the worker at least 15 calendar days to provide this certification. The employer can also require that the employee get a second medical certification. If so, the employer will pay for it. If there is a difference of opinion between the employee and the medical provider the employer designated, there can be a third medical opinion to settle it. This too will be paid by the employer.

For employees who believe that FMLA will allow them to take time off for a serious health condition suffered by themselves or a loved one, they are right. However, there are various rules that must be followed including why the time off can be granted and the medical certification that goes along with it. If there are issues with this aspect of labor law, discussing a case with a legal professional experienced in employee benefits can help.

Source:, "The Family and Medical Leave Act -- Serious Health Condition; Medical Certification," accessed on Sept. 19, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Us Today

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response

New York Office
120 Broadway,
28th Floor
New York, NY 10271

Phone: 212-652-3890
Fax: 212-652-3891
New York Law Office Map

Albany Office
111 Washington Avenue,
Suite 401
Albany, NY 12210

Phone: 518-449-3320
Fax: 518-449-5812
Map & Directions

Staten Island Office
25 Hyatt Street,
Suite 202
Staten Island, NY 10301

Phone: 718-943-1050
Fax: 718-943-1051
Map & Directions

  • New York Office Map
  • Staten Island Office Map
  • Albany Office Map