We have an employee who has been taking intermittent leave over the past 12 months for pain and injections for a medical condition. He is having surgery due to the condition. Is this considered a separate event or a continuation of the prior treatments?
Under the FMLA, an employee is entitled to leave for any period of incapacity because of a chronic, serious condition. A chronic, serious health condition is one that requires periodic visits, at least twice a year, for treatment by a healthcare provider or by a nurse under direct supervision of a healthcare provider, which continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of a single underlying condition).
In the situation you describe, the employee requires leave for the treatment of a continuing, single underlying condition. If the employer determines that the certification is insufficient to substantiate the need for leave after Surgery for that condition, the employer may ask for recertification specifying the need for leave after surgery. If, however, the certification is sufficient, the surgery should be considered as a continuation of the certified treatment and leave.
HR.BLR.com has detailed information on leave certification and serious health conditions under the FMLA.