Can FMLA Be Used for Mental Health?

Mental health awareness is increasingly important and applicable to all. Today, we’re addressing “can FMLA be used for mental health?”

A Refresher on FMLA

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires entities employing 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the year, to allow 12 weeks of FMLA leave each year. During that time, group health benefits should continue as though the employee was not on leave. At the end of the leave, the employee should be reinstated to the same or a virtually identical position. The leave can be unpaid, or the employee can use paid leave if provided.

Can FMLA be Used for Mental Health

It is often overlooked that FMLA also applies to mental health conditions. The FMLA applies to any “serious health condition” of the employee, spouse, child, or parent, and a mental health condition is included in that definition of “serious health condition.”

The mental health issue must involve either inpatient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider.
The condition must incapacitate the individual for three consecutive days and require ongoing treatment either by medical appointments with a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, clinical social worker, or a single appointment and follow-up care (to maintain prescription medication, rehabilitation counseling, or behavioral therapy). Chronic conditions such as anxiety, depression, or dissociative disorders may qualify.

When an employee, spouse, child, or parent is going through a difficult time and a mental health condition arises, we all need to proactively encourage them to take leave offered by FMLA. Difficulties can arise for any of us, and mental health is just as important as any other physical condition that disables. Ignoring the problem is never the best option for a mental health issue.

If your temporary leave turns into a more serious issue and reaches the level of long-term disability, contact the disability attorneys at The Martin Law Group today. We are here to help.

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