The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires covered employers to provide job-protected unpaid leave to employees who are incapacitated with a serious health condition and those who are providing care for sick family members. FMLA guarantees employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period. Employees must work for their employer for at least 12 months before they are eligible for FMLA leave. Some employers may choose to voluntarily provide pay for employees when they utilize FMLA leave. Some disability insurance policies may require the claimant to exhaust all available FMLA leave before becoming eligible for benefits. Even though FMLA leave is typically unpaid, employers are required to continue offering health insurance benefits to employees during FMLA leave.

In the context of COVID-19 and long COVID, FMLA leave can be useful to provide unpaid time off for employees who require an overnight stay in a hospital and employees with chronic conditions that cause occasional periods of incapacity. To obtain FMLA leave, an employee must work with their health care provider to complete an FMLA certification form. Once the certification form is complete, it must be returned to the employer or their claims administrator. If the employee does not provide certification of their medical condition, their employer can deny an employee FMLA leave.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR’S FMLA CERTIFICATION FORMS

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR’S Q&A ON FMLA AND COVID-19