Is An Employee Eligible for FMLA After a Natural Disaster?

Within mere weeks, the US will endure multiple historic natural disasters. Hurricane Harvey devastates parts of Texas at the end of August and Hurricane Irma is already bearing down on Florida. Each of these storms have and will impact hundreds of thousands of American families.

In some areas, homes and businesses will be impacted equally. In other cases, families will lose their homes but their employer will be untouched. What happens after the storm has passed and employees must juggle the devastation left along with their everyday responsibilities?

Could an employee use the Family Medical Leave Act to take time off from work and recover from the devastation? The Family Medical Leave Act is not designed to be used for recovery efforts but there are instances where it could be used in relation to a natural disaster. If you or an immediate family member has suffered a physical or mental illness or injury that meets the definition of a “serious health condition,” you may be eligible for FMLA leave.

Applying for FMLA leave related to a natural disaster will require the same process and paperwork as any other request for this type of leave. It is important to remember that the FMLA leave may be connected to the natural disaster but it is not unique in its application requirements. Be sure you communicate with your employer so that you receive any and all benefits to which you are entitled.

If you believe you have been wrongfully denied FMLA benefits from your employer, you should contact an attorney at Humble Law today.


Marquie Young is an Associate Attorney in Humble Law LLC’s Nashville office. Marquie can be reached via email at or by phone at 615-800-3041.

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