New resources on workers’ rights to leave for mental health conditions under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) were released by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
Mental health conditions are now considered serious health conditions under FMLA if they require inpatient or continued treatment by a healthcare provider. This includes overnight stays in a treatment center for addiction through a clinical psychologist. Similarly, chronic conditions like anxiety, depression, and dissociative disorders that result in incapacitation periods and require treatment, a minimum of twice a year, fall under the “continued treatment category.”
According to the new guidance, an eligible employee may take FMLA leave for their own serious health condition or to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition.
- Own serious health condition – an eligible employee may take up to 12 workweeks of leave for a serious health condition that prevents the employee from performing their essential duties.
- Leave to care for a family member with a mental health condition – this care includes providing psychological comfort to benefit the family member with the serious health condition receiving inpatient or home care. FMLA leave for a child with a serious health condition is limited to caring for those under 18 years of age.
- Leave to care for an adult child with a mental health condition – if the adult child is incapable of self-care due to mental or physical disability, the parent may use FMLA leave. Examples of these conditions would be bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and more.
- Military caregiver leave for mental health conditions – eligible employees with up to 26 weeks of military caregiver leave in a 12-month period may take leave to care for a covered servicemember or certain veterans with serious illnesses or injuries. A qualified serious injury or illness includes one incurred in the line of duty or as a result of aggravating a pre-existing condition during active duty.
It is important to know employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees taking FMLA leave for mental health reasons.
If you have any questions about the updated guidance on FMLA, please contact your dedicated Creative Benefits, Inc. team member.