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Does the Family and Medical Leave Act Cover Illness from COVID?

Feb. 26, 2021

What Is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc in Illinois and across the globe making sick leaves mandatory. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees 12 weeks of unpaid job protection if they have serious health conditions. It also protects qualifying family members. During the pandemic, this act has proven invaluable because it does cover the illness.

That’s because COVID patients require care or continual treatment by a health care provider in case the patient has to go on a ventilator. However, unless you fulfill the following criteria, you cannot benefit from the Act:

  • You have been employed by the company for 12 months.

  • Your employer has over 50 or more employees on the payroll and who work onsite or within 75 miles of the worksite.

  • You have completed over 1,250 hours during the 12 months before you take the FMLA leave

When Can You Take A FMLA Leave For COVID-19?

If you are unable to do your job properly because of health conditions caused by the virus, you can take your FMLA leave. It’s the same if you would take sick days off if you caught the flu. While the flu is not necessarily categorized as an impairing disease, it can be treated as such if it results in hospitalization or inpatient care. It should also involve incapacity that lasts for more than three consecutive days and should also involve either of the following:

  • In-person treatment by a healthcare professional at least once, which also results in other treatments down the line such as antibiotics.

  • In-person treatment twice or thrice within 30 days after the first time the employee was incapacitated. However, this duration is flexible in keeping with any extenuating circumstances that crop up during hospital visits.

By ‘incapacity’ we mean the employee’s inability to perform basic job functions, attend a school or take care of daily activities that were not a problem for them otherwise because of their serious health condition.

If your employer is refusing to allow you to take FMLA leave because you have COVID, you can file a lawsuit against him/her for denying you those basic rights. At this point, you should hire an experienced employment attorney from the Law Office of Michael Smith in Schaumburg, IL right away. He has an impressive track record of protecting employees such as yourself from unlawful treatment in the workplace and this includes denial of FMLA leaves. Get answers to tough questions by booking a consultation with him or by filling out and submitting this online contact form.