Difference Between FMLA and Sick Leave

People might get sick during their work. For this, they can ask leave from their employers if they have any proper reason to it.

There are two ways available for this. One is FMLA, and the other one is Sick Leave.

There are different rules available to get them, but the main aim is concentrated on getting leave when they are sick and couldn’t attend office. 

FMLA vs Sick Leave

The main difference between FMLA and Sick Leave is that FMLA is a family and medical leave which is mandatory and given to the employees. Sick Leave is given to the employees when they are sick, and it is not mandatory if the employees, they can ask for sick leave. When employees take FMLA, they will not be paid. While for sick leave, employees will be paid. 

FMLA vs Sick Leave

FMLA is an unpaid leave guaranteed to employees when they have any serious health condition. During this period, their job will be safe, and they can get all the employment benefits in their leave period.

FMLA cannot be denied by the employer as it is against the law. If all the papers are proper, then that person will be guaranteed FMLA without any denial.

Sick leave is provided for employees when they ask them to the company based on their illness. There is no law to deny people from asking for sick leave.

But before asking, you need to provide proof of your illness and then proceed so that the process will take place faster.

For applying for sick leave, you need to write a leave letter along with your medical certificate

Comparison Table Between FMLA and Sick Leave

Parameters of ComparisonFMLASick Leave
DefinitionIt is family and medical leave which can be given to all the employees and it is mandatoryIt is a short term leave and can be taken by the employees based on their decision and it is not mandatory
Job guaranteeThe employee will have the job even after returning from the holidayThere will be no guarantee for the employee in the job
SalaryThey will provide only unpaid leaveThey will provide leave along with compensation
Introduced byPresident ClintonGovernor Jerry Brown

What is FMLA?

The expansion of FMLA is the family and medical leave act. It is an unpaid leave provided for employees when there is a specific reason.

They will provide leave for up to 12 weeks. During this period, their job will be protected. The employee will not lose their job after returning from their leave.

But to get FMLA, you need to fulfill some requirements. During their leave period, another employer should cover for them.

They should have worked at least 12 months before taking this kind of leave and also completed 1 250 hours in their work.

They should work at a location where the employees should be more than 50. They should also work within 75 miles of their house. A father can take FMLA leave when their child is born.

These are some of the requirements to be fulfilled to get FMLA. To get the money during their leave period, they need to speak with their employer about this.

In some special cases, they might get money for their leave.

Most people use FMLA when their health condition is not good, their partner is giving birth to the child, or some of their family members have any serious health condition.

In these cases, they can get FMLA processed faster. An employee or a doctor will usually fill the FMLA form and take it to the next level. You need not fill by yourself.

You need to contact the doctor and ask them to fill the form. 

What is Sick Leave?

Sick leave is given to the employees when they are sick and not able to attend the office. They will be given leave along with their salary.

It is not like unpaid leave. They will be given leave to stay at home so that they can take care of their health without losing their pay.

There are some rules and regulations available to get sick leave. Employees should have worked for at least 12 months to get 3 days of sick leave. 

This period will differ from country to country. In some countries, they will calculate the number of hours they have worked instead of calculating the days.

Flu is one of the most commonly accepted sick leave. Because most bosses think that their employees should take rest instead of coming to office.

If they come to the office, then they might spread it to some other people as well. Some other commonly accepted reasons are back pain and stress-related diseases. 

In some workplaces, they will provide sick leave as their workplace policy. While in some companies, it will be granted if the employees ask them.

An employer can also confirm if the person is suffering from any illness or not. There is no law available to put restrictions on this.

For a year, an employee can get a maximum of 10 sick leave. But if you exceed the given amount of time, they might refuse to pay you as per their company rules. 

Main Differences Between FMLA and Sick Leave

  1. The maximum number of days a person can get FMLA is 12 weeks. On the other hand, the maximum number of days for sick leave is 10 days.
  2. During FLMA, employees will not be paid for their leave. On the other hand, during sick leave, employees will be paid.
  3. You will not lose your job when you take FMLA. On the other hand, if you exceed the given time limit of your sick leave, you might risk your job.
  4. FMLA was introduced in the year 1993. On the other hand, sick leave was introduced in the year 2014.
  5. FMLA was introduced by President Clinton. On the other hand, sick leave was introduced by Governor Jerry Brown.
Difference Between FMLA and Sick Leave


Both these methods are used by many people when they get sick. Based on their convenience, people will choose the method they want.

If they are not sick and some other members of their family are sick, then people will mostly opt for FMLA as they can ask to leave to take care of their family members or others.

Even though they are getting more leave, but the drawback is during their leave, they will not be paid.

On sick leave, people can get leave by providing their medical certificate to the employer. They will go through it and provide the leave, which is also paid.

But they should get back to the work once the leave gets over. They should not extend their leave period even after getting alright as it might lead to some consequences. 


  1. https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article-abstract/56/3/391/2605627
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12122-014-9181-9?sa_campaign=email/event/articleAuthor/onlineFirst&error=cookies_not_supported&error=cookies_not_supported&code=8dd84ac9-80e3-4bd5-a578-809b9ca6da6f&code=f67d2c89-bdbf-4cde-8c35-009cc4086638
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