Monday, September 30, 2019

Are hangovers the next frontier of your FMLA headaches?


A German court recently ruled that a hangover qualifies as an “illness.”

Which got me thinking … are hangovers the next frontier of your FMLA headaches?

Thankfully, the answer to this question is almost certainly “no.”

But it’s worth reviewing the FMLA’s definition of “serious health condition” to see how I reach that conclusion.

The FMLA defines a “serious health condition entitling an employee to FMLA leave” as “an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care …or continuing treatment by a health care provider.”

  • “Inpatient care” means “an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity … or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care.”
  • “Incapacity” means an “inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment therefore, or recovery therefrom”
  • “Continuing treatment by a health care provider” means “a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive, full calendar days, and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition, that also involves” either “treatment two or more times, within 30 days of the first day of incapacity by a health care provider,” or “treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion, which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider.”

It’s difficult to imagine a hangover meeting any of these criteria. No hangover should ever require an overnight stay, continuing treatment of three or more days, or a regimen of supervised continuing treatment, even if an employee feels so ill that he or she cannot work or perform other regular daily activities as a result.

HR folks and leave administrators, rest easy knowing that you will not have to grant FMLA to your hungover employees.

* Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

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