Thank you for the information. In order to be clear there is a difference between a leave of absence for bereavement or personal reasons and leave that qualifies under FMLA for job protection. In order to qualify for FMLA your family member must have a "serious health condition." Below is how that is defined by the Act and set out by the U.S. Department of Labor. You can find more information about your rights under FMLA, by going to: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/1421.htm#2c
I, of course, cannot say whether or not your mother does have a serious health condition but I can say that at this point and time FMLA does not cover a grieving period. The courts have held that leave to care for a family member does not apply to the period after the relative’s death when an employee may want time off to grieve or take
care of the estate. This would be the case even if it were your mother that was grieving. Basically, the courts have determined that a serious health condition applies only to people who are alive. (Brown v. J.C. Penney Corp
., 924 F. Supp. 1158 (S.D. Fl. 1996).
There has been lobbying to add a grief period in the Act, but that has not yet occurred. In any event, as I mentioned I can't give you an opinion about whether or not your mother has a serious health condition. If you believe that she does after reading the guidance below and at the link I provided to you. Then you will want to file an appeal with CIGNA. If they still deny your request for FMLA, then you can either file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (agency with enforcement over the Act) or file suit in Federal court under the Act.
"Serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:
- any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or
- a period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three calendar days from work, school, or other regular daily activities that also involves continuing treatment by (or under the supervision of) a health care provider; or
- any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care; or
- any period of incapacity (or treatment therefore) due to a chronic serious health condition (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.); or
- a period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g., Alzheimer's, stroke, terminal diseases, etc.); or,
- any absences to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by, or on referral by, a health care provider for a condition that likely would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left untreated (e.g., chemotherapy, physical therapy, dialysis, etc.).
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