Is oversleeping covered by FMLA

Employee A is entitled to FMLA leave to care for her infant child with a serious health condition. The leave is intermittent and not always foreseeable. Over the last couple of months, Employee A has been late constantly, sometimes up to 2 hours, without providing any notice. When she does arrive, her excuses vary from stuck in traffic to oversleeping to ran late at the doctors.

While there are some "foreseeability" and "notice" issues presented here, the issue that I am most uncertain about is the "oversleeping" excuse. When Employee A is questioned further, she usually says that the reason she overslept is because she was up all night with her child tending to his medical needs. Assuming the employee is being truthful, would her oversleeping qualify as FMLA leave?

My initial thought is that oversleeping would not be covered by the FMLA in this instance. The primary reason that Employee A is late is that she overslept. It is the failure to get out of bed on time that caused her lateness. He child's illness did not prevent her from being at work on time. The reasons for oversleeping shouldn't matter. However, I can foresee a counter-argument that if the oversleeping is a direct result of the family member's serious health condition, then in at least some instances, Employee A would have an argument that she should be entitled to FMLA leave for the episode.

I have never dealt with an issue like this before, and the regs did not really guide me on the issue. If anyone has experience in dealing with this or a similar issue, your thoughts would be appreciated.


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