Vacation Time with Ill Mother Counted as FMLA

Document created by 1050210 on Nov 12, 2014
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Published Date: 04/14/2014


Pat; Rountree

By Pat Rountree


A recent court case sheds some light on the importance of location in regard to Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.


An employee was taking FMLA leave as a caregiver for her seriously ill mother, who was under hospice care. The employee accompanied her mother on a trip to Las Vegas that was granted under hospice and arranged by a social worker who was discussing end-of-life goals with the mother. As a caregiver, the daughter had to care for her mother’s personal needs as far as cooking for her, bathing, administering medication, dressing her, etc.


The daughter requested that her employer grant her FMLA prior to leaving on this trip. When the company determined that there was no medical treatment involved and that it was just a vacation, they terminated the employee for unauthorized leave.


The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found for the employee based on the fact that the FMLA grants leave when an eligible employee is needed to care for a covered family member with a serious health condition. The need to care for does not limit where the person is needed to care for the family member, and does not limit the need to only seeking medical treatment. It covers caring for the physical needs as described above, as well as the psychological needs.


To read the case, go to


If you have questions about FMLA leave, please contact a member of CAI's Advice & Resolution Team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.

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