Is the flu considered a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

Author: Melissa Burdorf, XpertHR Legal Editor

No. Generally, unless complications arise, routine conditions such as the common cold, the flu, earaches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, headaches other than migraines, and routine dental or orthodontia problems are not considered serious health conditions and therefore will not be a qualifying reason for an employee to take FMLA leave. Deciding whether complications arise is a tricky area. For example, if an employee is hospitalized for the flu or needs continued medical care to treat the flu, he or she would likely be eligible for FMLA leave. An employer should ask for a medical certification and then determine whether to approve or deny FMLA leave.