‘Medical leave’ law doesn’t allow vacation travel

An employee took a seven-week trip to the Philippines. The trip was arranged so that she could obtain help for her husband, who suffered from a variety of health problems. However, almost half the trip was spent visiting friends, family, and local churches. The employee had applied for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, but the employer had turned her down. When she went on the trip anyway, it fired her.

A federal court sided with the employer. It said that the medical leave act “does not permit employees to take time off to take a vacation with a seriously ill spouse, even if caring for the spouse is an ‘incidental consequence’ of taking him on vacation.”