Can Employees Claim FMLA Leave For the Flu?

on March 19, 2014 by Kara Larsen

Kara Larsen picThe influenza season is in full force in most parts of the nation, including along the east coast. Many expect the flu season to last well into May this year, so employers should brace themselves for more employees to be out of the office sick.

If your employees are passing the flu around your office, you may be wondering if the outbreak meets the requirements of a “serious health condition” under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The answer depends on the circumstances.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that it may take anywhere from a few days to two weeks to recover from the flu this season. However, in most cases, the Department of Labor does not consider the flu, common cold or upset stomach to qualify for FMLA leave.

To determine if an illness qualifies as a “serious health condition,” employers must determine whether the illness or injury involves inpatient hospital care, hospice services, or a stay at a residential healthcare facility and on-going treatment by a health care provider.

In serious cases, the H1N1 flu may result in an employee being hospitalized, but the illness does not require on-going treatment. The employee must be incapacitated for more than three consecutive days and seek continuing treatment from the healthcare provider to meet the requirement of continuing treatment.

If you need assistance determining if an employee’s illness qualifies for FMLA leave, contact Slater, Tenaglia, Fritz & Hunt, P.A.

Slater, Tenaglia, Fritz & Hunt, P.A. is a full service law firm.  Our practice focuses on commercial litigation and personal injury matters.  For over 35 years, we have been providing superior legal counseling and representation to institutional clients, including Fortune 500 Corporations and individuals throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and nationally. We can be contacted by phone: (201) 820-6001 or (212) 692-0200 and we can also be found on the Internet, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Youtube and on Facebook. We also have a network of local counsel throughout the United States. All initial consultations are free.