Can something minor become a serious condition under FMLA guidelines?

by on January 23, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Frequent FMLA certifications protect you from FMLA abuse.

Eczema couldn’t possibly qualify as a serious health condition. Wait, are you sure about that? Some health conditions that seem minor may actually develop into conditions that qualify as “serious” per FMLA guidelines.


Here’s the answer to our earlier question:
Eczema can easily constitute a serious health condition – if it becomes an infection.
So could other minor ailments if they are ignored long enough (remember President Calvin Coolidge’s son died from a blister on the foot).

If a seemingly minor ailment requires any of the following, it’s legally serious under the FMLA guidelines for a serious condition:

    • Three or more days of incapacity requiring treatment by a healthcare provider
    • One overnight stay in-patient at the hospital.

If the ailment doesn’t fit one of the criteria above, it’s probably minor, and doesn’t trigger Family Medical Leave Act protection.

Here’s what you can do to make sure workers’ illnesses are indeed serious:

    Get FMLA certifications. Require the worker to get medical certification from their doctor, along with an estimate of the amount of time off needed. You can get an independent second opinion, too, if you cover the cost of it.

    • Ask workers for re-certification every 30 days (at the worker’s expense). That usually puts a stop to attempts to beat the system.

Source: Harold Goldner, Law Office of Harold M. Goldner

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