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FMLA and mental health

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2022 | Employment Law |

Many Florida workers are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act. Recently, the Department of Labor updated the guidance on taking leave for mental health conditions.

Employee eligibility for leave under the FMLA

Federal employment law allows for leave under the FMLA when employees have worked at least 12 months and 1,250 hours of work. Private employers must offer medical leave to employees if their staff consists of at least 50 people. Employees of public agencies are also covered by FMLA.

Under the act, an employee may take up to 12 weeks of annual unpaid medical leave. Employers are required to continue offering workers who take that leave the same health insurance benefits they had prior to their leave. When the employee returns, the employer must provide them their job or one that’s identical.

Criteria for leave under the FMLA for mental health conditions

The Department of Labor has acknowledged there has been an increase in people dealing with serious mental health conditions. It has issued new guidance to address that issue.

Eligible employees can take time off under the FMLA for a serious health condition or care for their spouse, child or parent who suffers from a serious health condition. This includes mental health conditions.

Any type of medical condition is covered by the FMLA if it requires inpatient treatment and ongoing medical care by a doctor. For example, an employee can take medical leave to recover from a mental health disorder if they need psychiatric treatment and must stay in a mental health facility or if they struggle with substance use disorder and need drug or alcohol rehab treatment.

If a mental health condition causes the employee incapacitation for over three straight days or if it’s chronic and causes incapacitation, they would be considered eligible under the FMLA.