If a person is pregenant and has had past miscarraiges and their doctor requires them to make several doctor appointments because of the problems they had with previous pregnancy, can this person leave work and go to doctor appointments and have it fall under FMLA?
Yes, assuming your employee is otherwise qualified for FMLA, prenatal appointments are always covered, regardless of how many are necessary. Pregnancy is always a serious health condition under FMLA. There is no limit on the number of prenatal appointments that an employee can take time off for, under FMLA. This is between the pregnant woman and her doctor — the employer does not get to take part in this decision. Obviously, the expectant mother needs to do what is best for her baby.
Under FMLA, an employee is entitled to up to a total of 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. If the employee uses the equivilant of 2 weeks of time off for prenatal appointments, then she will have only 10 weeks of time off for childbirth and baby bonding. If she is required to take bed rest in the last months of pregnancy, that also will be counted towards the 12 week total.
An employer is always required to give intermittend FMLA for prenatal appointments. Your employee is not entitled to the entire day off, but is entitled to enough time to go to the appointment.
FMLA requires that if your employee has a choice, she schedule prenatal appoints at a time that is mutually convenient and that she give the employer as much advance notice as possible. However, you cannot deny an employee the right to take intermitten FMLA to attend prenatal appointments. Nor would you want to deny your employee the ability to attend prenatal appointments — if you denied the employee leave, she missed appointments and there were complications, you could be liable.
We assume that this employee is otherwise qualified for FMLA.
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