Medical Reasons for FMLA Leave By Dan Atkerson on May 10, 2023

Family and Medical Leave ActThe Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law designed to protect employees faced with medical situations. FMLA allows qualified workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year to treat medical conditions or care for loved ones.

One of the most frequent areas of confusion regarding FMLA is which types of conditions qualify for FMLA leave. Here, employment law attorney Dan A. Atkerson, whose law office serves Allen, TX, Plano, TX, and Frisco, TX, discusses some of the medical reasons for FMLA leave that workers should consider before taking an unprotected leave of absence or quitting their job.

Conditions Requiring Hospitalization

According to the Employee’s Guide to The Family and Medical Leave Act, published by the Department of Labor, an eligible worker can request FMLA leave for any personal serious health condition. Conditions that require an overnight (or longer) stay in a hospital or other medical care facility are covered by FMLA leave.

Conditions That Incapacitate You

Medical conditions that incapacitate a worker are eligible for FMLA leave. An incapacitating illness or injury is one that leaves a person unable to work, attend school, or perform other daily activities. Generally, a medical condition qualifies for FMLA leave if it incapacitates a worker for more than three consecutive days or requires ongoing medical care. Ongoing care may include a single doctor’s appointment and a period of follow-up care or a series of appointments with a medical care provider. Examples of incapacitating medical conditions include:

  • Broken bones
  • Pneumonia
  • COVID-19
  • Cancer 
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Surgery

Chronic Conditions

Chronic conditions are ongoing medical issues that occasionally require medical treatment or cause a person to be temporarily incapacitated. Chronic conditions are usually characterized by periodic visits to a healthcare provider and episodic symptoms over an extended period of time. Chronic conditions that may be eligible for FMLA leave include asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy.


Pregnancy is a common reason for employees to take FMLA leave. FMLA leave can be taken for prenatal medical appointments or to accommodate temporary incapacity related to the pregnancy. For example, if a pregnant worker suffers from chronic morning sickness, incapacitating gestational diabetes, or has been ordered on bed rest, they are eligible for FMLA leave.

Medical Conditions of a Family Member

FMLA leave is not only available to workers with their own medical conditions. FMLA also applies to medical conditions suffered by family members. Workers can apply for FMLA leave to care for a parent, spouse, or child experiencing a medical condition that falls under one of the abovementioned criteria.

FMLA Violations

Despite FMLA protections, employers frequently violate the law by denying an eligible FMLA leave, terminating a worker while they are on job-protected FMLA leave, or retaliating against an employee for using eligible FMLA leave. FMLA violations are illegal. Employees who believe they have been subject to an FMLA violation can work with attorney Dan A. Atkerson to hold their employer accountable for related losses.

Get In Touch

If you have more questions about the types of medical conditions that qualify for FMLA leave, or would like to discuss a potential FMLA violation, we invite you to schedule a legal consultation with FMLA lawyer Dan A. Atkerson. To get started, send us a message online or call our law firm at (214) 383-3606.

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Dan Atkerson

Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Dan A. Atkerson has been protecting the rights of North Texas employees for over nearly four decades. He is affiliated with several prestigious legal organizations, including: 

  • The State Bar of Texas
  • The Dallas Bar Association
  • The United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit
  • Texas Supreme Court and all Texas trial and appellate courts
  • Texas federal courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas

Through aggressive, knowledgeable representation, he has helped clients all over the state reach significant verdicts and settlements. To schedule a consultation at our law firm, request an appointment online or call us at (214) 383-3606.

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