Ask the Experts: Flu and FMLA




Is the common flu considered a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?


Most cases of the common flu do not meet the definition of “serious health condition” and would not be eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.

Some cases of the flu, however, are severe or result in complications, and these have the potential to meet the FMLA definition of “serious health condition.” This is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider. Continuing treatment means:

  • The employee has been incapacitated for a period of more than three full days; and
  • Consults with a doctor two or more times within 30 days, or
  • Has one consult with a doctor and a regimen of continuing treatment.

If an employee is out sick with the flu for more than three days, consider whether the need for FMLA leave may exist. This doesn’t mean that you need to go through the whole FMLA process to determine eligibility for each flu absence; just that you shouldn’t automatically reject FMLA requests for the flu either.

Review each case based on the facts, keep the “serious health condition” definition in mind, and if the illness is severe, ask the employee to submit certification from a health care provider to support their need for leave protection under the FMLA.

Get More

As the flu season ramps up, find out if you can require employees to get flu shots and learn 6 Ways to Keep the Flu from Sidelining Your Workplace. ThinkHR customers can learn just about everything they need to know about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by logging into their account.

Don’t have access? Request a consultation today and see how ThinkHR’s content, tech, and Live Advisors can prepare your clients as these questions come up!

Author: Mineral
HR and compliance made simple. Trusted by more than 500,000 companies, Mineral is the HR and compliance leader for growing businesses. Our proactive solutions take the guesswork out of HR and compliance, giving clients peace of mind. We combine data, technology, and human expertise to drive innovation and personalized guidance.