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Does my condition qualify me for FMLA leave?

If you are asking yourself the question posed in this headline, you are probably already struggling with a health condition that has the potential to seriously upset your ability to do your job. Perhaps it has already started to affect your attendance or performance.

If this is the case, you need answers, support and guidance, all of which can't come soon enough. To begin with, you should know that if your physical or mental health condition is considered serious, you will likely be eligible to take unpaid medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. 

Your next question might be "But which conditions are considered serious?" Basically, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, a qualifying condition includes any physical or mental medical problem that prevents you from performing some or all the essential functions of your job. 

This is quite a broad definition, but it is necessarily so. There are countless health problems that can affect people differently.

For instance, with treatment, mental conditions like depression or bipolar disorder can allow some people to function normally on a regular basis. For others, the conditions can prove to be debilitating and make it impossible to get out of bed, meet deadlines and complete certain tasks. 

Further, there are conditions that only affect people performing certain types of work. For example, a person who is on bed rest after back surgery won't be able to complete manual labor tasks, but with some accommodations could continue working from home if his or her works requires little or nothing more than a computer. 

However, there are other requirements of FMLA coverage that are not so vague. A condition, whatever it may be, must result in at least three consecutive days during which a person is incapacitated. The condition must also necessitate at least two visits to the doctor within a certain period of time, and certification of a condition may be required by some employers.

Considering all there is to know about FMLA leave and qualifying conditions, it can be crucial that you discuss your legal options with an attorney if you are concerned about eligibility and coverage. Doing so sooner, rather than later, can help you get the support you deserve.

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