In any person’s life, there may be a period when you are required to take time off work to care for yourself or your family. If you need to take time off due to a medical emergency in your family, your leave may be covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, there are specific uses and costs that FMLA does not include. If you are considering taking FMLA, it is essential to understand what is and is not covered. 

At Blackstone Law, our attorneys are dedicated to ensuring our clients understand their rights and protections under California and Federal law. We have the knowledge and skills to analyze whether you are eligible to file a claim under FMLA and fight for justice if you were unlawfully denied. When we take your case, you can trust us to leave no stone unturned as we guide you through every step of the legal process. 

What Is Not Covered Under FMLA?

FMLA is job-protected leave for severe medical conditions and situations like parental leave. Those eligible for FMLA leave may take up to 12 weeks off in one year. If you meet the following requirements, you may be eligible to take FMLA leave to care for yourself or your family:

  • Your employer employs at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius
  • You have been employed for over a year
  • You have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in those 12 months

Even if you meet the eligibility requirements, there are several situations and expenses FMLA does not cover, including the following:

Certain Minor Ailments

Although the FMLA does not specify specific diseases or ailments as requirements for leave, several conditions do not qualify. A few minor illnesses that FMLA does not cover include the following:

  • Cold and flu
  • Upset stomach or a minor ulcer
  • Earaches 
  • Non-migraine headaches
  • Ordinary dental or orthodontic issues
  • Cosmetic procedures 

However, it is essential to note that these conditions are not automatically excluded from FMLA coverage as they may be symptoms of a more severe illness.

Paid Time Off (PTO)

While FMLA leave is job-protected and cannot prevent you from earning a promotion, it is unpaid leave. Since individuals are not collecting their regular wages while on FMLA leave, many opt to use their earned paid time off to offset expenses and supplement their income. However, the FMLA does not provide any additional PTO to those on leave. 


FMLA leave must be used to care for yourself or a close relative. It cannot be used for mental breaks outside of a doctor’s care, or vacations or other travel. In other words, FMLA is medical leave and not a sabbatical. 

Medical Costs

You will still have access to your employer-provided health insurance benefits during your leave. However, FMLA does not cover any other costs associated with your healthcare. This includes obtaining the medical certification for your leave required by most employers. 

Discuss Your Rights with a Skilled FMLA Attorney

Despite using your right to FMLA leave for valid reasons, your employer may still try and deny your claim. If your FMLA claim has been unlawfully denied in California, you deserve to have a trusted legal representative in your corner. At Blackstone Law, we have a proven track record of successfully advocating for our client’s rights and interests. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not collect our fee and get paid until we resolve your case. To learn more about how we can help you and schedule a free consultation, call us at (310) 956-4054 or complete our contact form today.