FMLA Leave to run family business?

Hi All! We have an employee whose wife recently had FMLA-qualifying surgery. When the employee requested leave (he didn't ask for FMLA but it qualified) I provided him with the needed notifications and medical certification. He never returned the medical certification so his FMLA-leave request was denied.

This employee and his wife own a small restaurant which she manages. While she's been recovering her father has been running the restaurant. However, he can no longer stay to run the restaurant so our employee (the husband) has asked for "a leave of absence." I asked if he would be taking time off to care for her or to work at the restaurant and he said that he would spend [I]some[/I] time caring for her but that much of it would be covering for her at the restaurant. (His words: "I want to be clear, I'm going to be taking time off to work at the restaurant.") My inclination is that this does not qualify as FMLA since he is asking for time off to be her work replacement, not to care for her (at least not primarily to care for her). What do you think - is this an FMLA-qualifying absence?


  • 1 Comment sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I don't think his time at the restaurant qualifies for FMLA, though the time he spends caring for his wife would. The only way this could qualify, and it would be a serious stretch, is if her doctor stated she was so stressed about no one being at the restaurant that it was impairing her recovery.

    It sounds like your employee did not expect it to be covered under FMLA, so he asked for a 'leave of abscense' instead. If that is the case, you can fall back on your regular policies for letting employees take such a leave when personal emergencies like these arise.

    Good luck!

Sign In or Register to comment.