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Feb24

FMLA Family Member Counseling

Does court ordered couseling of an adolescent child provided by a psychologist (indefinite period of time) qualify as a “serious medical condition?” As a result of divorce/child cudtody ruling the custodial parent is ordered to arrange for couseling by a psychologist for his 15 year old daughter. The girl is not an inpatient at any facility,

The federal FMLA or Family and Medical Leave Act permits an employee to take unpaid time off work for a spouse, parent, son or daughter (under 18) with a serious health condition.

Simply because a judge orders counseling does not necessarily make it a serious health condition. But it is possible that the daughter does have a serious health condition under FMLA, and that is the reason the judge ordered treatment.

Serious health condition can cover a lot of ground, including mental health issues like addiction, depression, OCD, eating disorders, etc.etc. The family member need not be hospitalized or undergoing in-patient treatment to qualify as having a serious health condition.

There is a simple solution here. The U.S. Department of Labor permits employers to require workers to have the serious health condition of a dependent certified, in order to take time off. The department recently introduced a separate form to be used for a dependent. It is good business practice to always require certification of serious health conditions under FMLA. You should provide the employee with the certification form, to be filled out by the daughters healthcare provider. The provider will then determine if the daughters has a serious health condition. Note that you cannot require a diagnosis, but you can require certification.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 at 5:21 pm and is filed under
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2 Responses to “FMLA Family Member Counseling”

  1. Pamala Lai Says:

    My friend told me about your site, so I thought I’d check it out. Very interesting insights, will be back for more!

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Pamala! Check back often — we post new material at least 5 days per week. Thanks for reading!~ Caitlin

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