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Q: My mother was just diagnosed with a chronic illness that will require me to take days off to take her to the doctor in another city.  Can I use FMLA leave to care for my mother?

A: If you are covered by FMLA (see below), and you can provide certification from your mother’s doctor, you can use FMLA leave to accompany her to her medical appointments.

There are two types of leave provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Continuous (where you take off time for a set period of time) and intermittent (where you take off time that can be just a day or two but is not taken all at the same time). If you just need a day here and there to take her to the doctor you would be covered by intermittent FMLA.

Your employer can require certification from your mother’s doctor about the type and length of treatments, and the need for a family member to accompany her.

In order for you to qualify for FMLA you must:

  • Have been employed by your current employer for a year or more,
  • Worked at least 1,250 hours (or about 24 hours a week) during the preceding year
  • Work for a company with at least 50 employees