US Department of Labor publishes updated Family and Medical Leave Act guidance on mental health, job-protected leave for workers, employers
WASHINGTON – The National Institute of Health estimates that nearly one in five U.S. adults – or about 52.9 million people in 2020 – live with a mental illness, and that only about half receive the help needed.
While many people coping with mental illness may face barriers to treatment including social stigmas, a lack of available services or financial resources, the U.S. Department of Labor is determined to ensure that obtaining job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act is not another obstacle to overcome when workers seek the mental health support they need.
As the nation recognizes National Mental Health Awareness month, the department’s Wage and Hour Division is providing additional resources for workers on their rights to take leave for serious mental health conditions and for employers to better understand how to comply with the FMLA.
An eligible employee may take FMLA leave for their own serious health condition or to care for a spouse, child or parent because of their serious health condition. A serious health condition can include a mental health condition.
Mental and physical health conditions are considered serious health conditions under the FMLA if they require inpatient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider, such as an overnight stay in a treatment center for addiction or continuing treatment by a clinical psychologist.
The newly published guidance includes Fact Sheet # 28O: Mental Health Conditions and the FMLA and Frequently Asked Questions on the FMLA’s mental health provisions.
Learn more about the FMLA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, including an FMLA Compliance Assistance Toolkit, or contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions, regardless of immigration status, and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.