Qualifying for FMLA Twice for Same Event

Are there any instances where an employee can qualify for an FMLA leave twice for the same qualifying event?  If so, what is the reason why?


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  • A lot depends on what you mean by "qualifying event". This isn't COBRA, it's FMLA. If the person is protected by the act and they have a serious health condition or one of the other covered situations, then it is what it is. Can you take FMLA because your mother has a serious health condition and is in need of psychological support? Absolutely. Can you take FMLA when she needs psychological support when she has another serious health condition or another bout of the same one?  Absolutely.

    Let's say that a person has a hernia. They have an operation on the hernia. They are out for 6 weeks. 2 years later, the hernia re-ruptures and they are out for it again.

    Let's say that a person goes out on FMLA to deal with the debilitating effects of chemotherapy treatment used to fight leukemia. Let's say that the leukemia goes into remission. Let's also say that it comes out of remission again at some later date.....

    How about this one: let's say that a person goes out on FMLA to deal with the debilitating effects of chemotherapy treatment. The chemo is not 100% successful in the short term and has to be cycled off chemo and then back on it. In the interim, they return to work and then go back out on FMLA for another round of chemo.

    Let's say that a woman has a partial hysterectomy.  Upon recovery, she returns to work but then goes back out due to complications from the surgery such as a failed bladder repair due to a "nick" that occurred during the procedure.  Or, let's say that the underlying cause of the partial hysterectomy then later resolved into a need to remove the ovaries as well.

    Let's say that a woman has a partial mastectomy and then 3 months later opts for a full mastectomy.

    All manner of relapse situations or complications arising from a procedure could relate to what you are asking about.

  • Completely off subject but TXHRGuy, your situational examples are spot on!  Sounds like you do MD work in your spare time.  Good examples.  Completely agree.
  • I think most of you that have dealt with any number of FMLA cases will agree that we sometimes need a degree in medicine (or have gone through med school) to figure these things out. I have dealt with a bunch of these same situations that TXHRGuy mentions with employees over the years.  If you think about it, it is actually kind of sad to say that we have dealt with this.  That means lots of employees sick with some pretty bad stuff.


  • Thanks for your examples.  How about in the situation of the birth of a child?  Are there any cases where FMLA can be taken twice for the same birth?
  • What do you mean by the same birth? And does your company do FMLA on a rolling 12-month period because that can make a difference on when they are eligible for more FMLA? Federal FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period to care for a newly born, adopted or foster-placed child. If the employee uses 6 weeks after the birth of their child then returns to work and then that child gets sick a month later with (let's just say hypothetically) meningitis then that employee could take an additional 6 weeks. Each situation is different, and that's not even getting into the intermittent leave (say - hypothetically again - that the child was born with a defective heart and has to be taken in for tests and treatments or a surgery) that the employee might qualify for...........I think it would help if you explained more about the situation.........
  • [quote user="6312411"]Thanks for your examples.  How about in the situation of the birth of a child?  Are there any cases where FMLA can be taken twice for the same birth?[/quote]

    For the birth itself?  Complications from the procedure in the case of a C-Section.  But let's keep in mind that they get time to bond with their child and I can't think of anything off the top of my head that says they can't choose to bond with their child every Wednesday and Friday for 30 weeks in a row.  The ticker on that is the first year I think.

  • If the employer is using a calendar/fixed year choice (rather than a rolling year), the employee could qualify at the end of the 1st calendar year and then possibly at the beginning of the second for the same condition. 

    From : http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/1421.htm 

    "Q: How is the 12-month period calculated under FMLA?

    Employers may select one of four options for determining the 12-month period:

    • the calendar year;
    • any fixed 12-month "leave year" such as a fiscal year, a year required by State law, or a year starting on the employee's "anniversary" date;
    • the 12-month period measured forward from the date any employee's first FMLA leave begins; or
    • a "rolling" 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses FMLA leave.  "

    Your scenario is the reason that many employers (might even go as far as saying MOST) using the rolling period calculations even though the fixed ones are easier to recordkeep.


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