skip to page content
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy
- Family and Medical Leave Act Advisor

Serious Health Condition

Based on the information you provided, it appears that the health condition meets the definition of a serious health condition under the FMLA.

Under the FMLA, the definition of a serious health condition includes all of the following:

Inpatient Care: Care that requires an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care.

Incapacity and Treatment: A serious health condition involving continuing treatment by a health care provider includes a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive full calendar days and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition that also involves:

  • Treatment two or more times within 30 days of the first day of incapacity (unless extenuating circumstances exist) by a health care provider, by a nurse under direct supervision of a health care provider, or by a provider of health care services under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider; or
  • Treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion that results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider.
    • The first (or only) treatment by a health care provider must be an in-person visit and take place within seven days of the first day of incapacity.
    • A "regimen of continuing treatment" includes, for example, a course of prescription medication or therapy requiring special equipment to resolve or alleviate the health condition.

Pregnancy or Prenatal Care: Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care.

Chronic Conditions: Any period of incapacity or treatment for such incapacity due to a chronic serious health condition that requires periodic visits (at least twice per year) to a health care provider, continues over an extended period of time and may cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity.

Permanent or Long-Term Conditions: A period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective, but requires continuing supervision of a health care provider.

Conditions Requiring Multiple Treatments: Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments by a health care provider for (1) restorative surgery after an accident or other injury or (2) a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive full calendar days without the treatments.

Note: Under some circumstances, leave may be taken for treatment of substance abuse; see Serious Health Condition – Leave for Treatment of Substance Abuse for more information.

Continue to the Main Menu to learn about employees' and employers' rights and responsibilities, including what notice and certifications may be required, or Return to Reasons for Leave.

For more information on this aspect of the FMLA, see the FMLA regulations: § 825.113, § 825.114, § 825.115