What is a serious health condition under FMLA?

A serious health condition can involve some or all of the following:

  • Conditions that require inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility
  • Conditions that incapacitate an employee or employee’s family member for more than three consecutive days and require ongoing medical treatment
  • Chronic conditions that cause occasional periods when an employee or employee’s family member are incapacitated and require treatment by a health care provider
  • Pregnancy and childbirth

This definition includes conditions such as cancer, heart attacks, strokes, severe injuries, Alzheimer's disease, and/or terminal diseases. A serious health condition is not intended to cover short-term condit ions for which treatment and recovery are very brief, such as common cold, influenza, earaches, upset stomach, headaches (other than migraines), and/or routine dental or orthodontia problems unless complications arise.